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Con Ed labor dispute heats up as summer temps soar

Concerns about maintenance and power during a heat wave.

In the midst of a city heat wave, Consolidated Edison told about 8,000 unionized workers not to come to work Sunday after the power utility company and union leaders failed to agree on a new contract.

In the meantime, the company assured customers that managers are taking over maintenance duties.

Con Ed spokesman Alfonso Quiroz confirmed that talks between the company and the union ended early Sunday. Con Ed suggested extending the current contract for two weeks so that sticky negotiations over pensions and health care could continue, but union leaders refused, according to Reuters.

After threatening a strike, Con Ed officials asked all 8,500 unionized workers not to report to work on Sunday, replacing them with 5,000 company managers, according to the company.

The lock-out sparked concerns over possible power outages as temperatures hit almost 100 degrees in the city's second heat wave of the summer.

"ConEd took the extreme measure of locking out its unionized workforce, putting the city of New York and Westchester county in peril during a heat wave," union spokesman John Melia told Reuters.

Company walk-in centers are closed, meter reading is suspended, and
non-emergency major construction projects have been "limited", according
to Con Ed, which services 3.2 million people in Manhattan, the Bronx
and parts of Westchester and Queens.

Quiroz told Metro the offer of a two-week extension was still on the table.

In the meantime, temperatures are expected to hover around 90 degrees all week.

 
 
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