July 2, 2012
By Marc Bussanich, LaborPress City Reporter
Discussions for a new contract between Con Edison and Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America went beyond the midnight deadline last night, and just after 2:00 AM the company escorted the union off the company’s property and locked out 8,500 members of Local 1-2.
John Melia, a spokesman for Local 1-2, said in an interview that the company summarily locked the union out.
“There was no break down in negotiations. They threw our people out of the room and locked us out. We told them we’d work without a collective bargaining agreement. We tried to set up dates to resume talks but they rejected it.”
Melia also noted that the company is claiming that it offered an extension to Local 1-2, but that the union rejected it.
The moment just before the company told the union it was locking them out, Con Edison said “you’re going to take it [the company’s offer] or leave it,” according to Melia.
At rallies and events New York’s labor leaders have said that New York is not Wisconsin. But now, in addition to workers working without a new contract in transit and telecom, another major union is under attack in New York.
When asked what message Local 1-2 would want to say to the New York labor movement, Melia replied, “Be weary of publicly-regulated utilities that decide to act because they’re a monopoly and feel they’ll do whatever they want, like discarding their workers.” firstname.lastname@example.org