|Have something to tell us at The Call? Drop us a line at email@example.com and we'll post it to our blog.|
Our past three shows have been about the Con Ed lockout and, I have to say, I was surprised by the amount of phone calls, e-mails and tweets we received. I also was a bit taken aback by the responses to tonight's question of whether local elected officials should step in to try to help resolve this dispute. Oftentimes, New Yorkers say they're sick of government meddling in their everyday lives, but this situation is different. Ironically, when New Yorkers call out to the Mayor for help, he is nowhere to be found. Thousands of workers are being left in the dark...and millions of New Yorkers may soon be in the same boat.
After negotiating for more than nine hours yesterday, representatives from Con Edison and the utility workers union were back at the bargaining table this morning. Sources tell NY1 progress is being made, but talks are going very slowly. Both sides are still keeping the specifics of the contract terms under wraps.
Governor Cuomo's office said today it is monitoring the situation closely. Mayor Bloomberg, on the other hand, has made no public comment. Con Ed's 5,000 managers continue to do the work of the 8,500 employees who are locked out. Voltage reductions are in place in more than 22 neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Should the details of the contract negotiations be made public? Are you encouraged by signs of progress? Should elected officials do more to resolve the dispute? Given the extreme heat this week, are you surprised the electric grid hasn't experienced any major problems?
Send your thoughts using the link above.
Major Bloomberg is not going to get involved at the bargaining. table-until the customers and elected officials force him too.
And new York city customers had better take notice and stand up for the union workers agonist Union Busting, because Con Edison is doing the same thing that our big Mayor has done with the teachers earlier New Yorkers wake up if these two big businessmen/organization are allowed to get away with this other businesses will follow.
When are we going to hit the streets and fight for ourselves and our sitters and brothers, everything that happens in this city affects all of us as tax payers.
Regina from Harlem
I would have been working for Con Edison 42 years next week. Now my employer has
locked me out of work. Not being very clear on what the issues are but to my
understanding it's over pensions, medical and other benefits.
The members of upper management want to change everything in their favor.
Craig Ivey which came from Virginia State wants to break our unions back. He is
known as a union buster. Kevin Burke which is our CEO made over 10 million
dollars last year and has a guaranteed pension of 18 million dollars.
The company has made record earnings. Yet they want to take this money
from the working people whom are very highly skilled professionals that have earn
The management are placing our communities at risk. They are maintaining a state
of the art grid with management people who are very unfamiliar with our system.
Who have been sitting in their offices for the past couple of years while the
system is being maintained by the union workers. Loosing touch with the new
technologies. By having these management in the field they are placing themselves
and the public in danger.
Con Edison has been in business for over 125 years. We have earned these benefits
through the union workers hard work. I have been through many contracts. They are
violating all the years of hard work my union brothers earned & tolled for.
Only 5% of our electric bill covers the salaries & benefits paid to 8500 union
workers. Where is the the other 95% going? Not just to operating cost. Mr. Burke
just increased the salary to each board member by 20 %. They give themselves a
nice hefty raise. Maybe the stock holders should investigate their raises.
The price of the common stock is at an all time high. I think this a ploy,
whereby the stock price is being manipulated & inflated by company wigs, to
falsely indicates the company is operating at peak efficiency. This is a
Stock holders beware.
Is a sell-off looming in the near future? Is this the reason why the
company is so bold to lock us out. Shame on you Mr. Burke and all the Executive
board members of Con ED. Greed to destroy a company with an impeccable record.
New York beware.
They are flirting with danger by destroying a professional work force.
Con Edison service record has been the best in the country. Thanks to my hard
working union brothers. Now our upper management wants to change the way
they do business. They want to keep the money for themselves and take from my
union brothers all the years of hard work to earn their benefits. Is this
No regard for their fellow man. This is unjust. Shame on you Con- Ed.
THIS IS WHAT I CALL GREED.
DJS - Lockout worker & outraged stockholder
Mr. Burke, Mr. Ivey, et. al. you should be ashamed of yourselves.
No insurance for your employees while you locked them out!!! Babies, pregnant women, cancer patients, emergency room visits, etc. How can you sleep at night. My husband has worked for Con Ed for over 30 years and as a result has lost his upper lobe of his lung from breathing in oils in a poorly ventilated workroom and has asbestosis from working with asbestos. Employees of Con Edison are constantly at risk of injury. A now deceased employee of the Bronx had both legs amputated by a car that hit him at a work site. Does the public realize how many chemicals and PCB's, cancer causing agents, these workers are exposed to on a daily basis. Not to mention when a huge blizzard hits or a hurricane comes through these men and women MUST be at work to insure power to all. They don't get to have a stay at home snow day like most. Many of these union workers worked day and night at the World Trade Center again exposing their bodies to numerous contaminants. Now you want to take away their retirement benefits!!!! Someone has to step in and punish these greedy CEO's!!
This is a disgrace on both Cuomo, Bloomberg and all of the other politicians.
Where are they? This reminds me of the SNOWSTORM incident.
They could very stay wherever the hell they are and not even show their faces on TV.
PLEASE DO US A FAVOR.
AT THIS MOMENT I HAVE MY AIR-CONDITIONER RUNNING ON FAN ONLY AND AM STAYING IN ONE ROOM JUST TO HELP PRESERVE THE ENERGY.
THE THERMO READS 94 AT THIS TIME OF DAY.
WHAT HAPPENS TO ALL THE FOOD WE HAVE IN CASE WE HAVE A BLACKOUT.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN REIMBURSED IN OTHER BLACK OUTS. EVEN THAT IS FOR SPECIAL PEOPLE. WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE DEALING WITH.
JOHN AGAIN I SAY YOU DO A WONDERFUL JOB AND SHOW MUCH CONCERN.
I am disgusted that Gov Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg and Christine Quinn are not supporting the Con Ed Union workers.
I've been employed at Con Edison since November 2011. Ever since signing my papers at orientation the hint of a strike between Con Edison and their union employees have loomed. On Saturday June 30th we were told to hand in all of our equipment and make sure to take all personal effects home. The union and Con Edison had only negotiated for 10 days at this point, something I think should have been going on for a much longer period when the two sides were so far apart on a new contract. I was devastated to find out that I had been locked out of my position, lost my medical, won't get paid for the week I just worked & had to file for unemployment all of this the same day I was locked out. There was not a need to be notify management 72 hours or 7 days before a strike since management had been preparing for this situation for some time now. Managers and supervisors were in place the next day (Sunday morning). Our employees who were kicked out of the building after midnight didn't see this coming nor did I see this coming, where was my warning that I was going to lose pay, medical and my position. This is the most undermining tactic I've seen at anytime in my 40 years of life. My only concern is that when you get slammed by your own company you can never trust them the way you previously did before this occurred. All we want is to keep what we had on the contract that just expired. Obviously if you make 1.2 billion in profits your not losing money so there is no need for the employees that are out there doing the work to lose everything we've worked for.
The contract talks will go very slowly until either, A)Something goes wrong and the power goes out, or B)One of the managers trying to do grunt work gets hurt or drops from heat exhaustion. The fact the company doesn't want any number to leak out in the negotiations seems logical, since it is a monopoly with a constant cash flow that has earned a profit even during a recession. All of these will make hard to cry poverty when all the workers are asking for is what they already have. And the notion that keeping the union workers with the same benefits will mean a raise in rates is just the company playing games. The CEO and stockholders will raise rates and put the money in their own pockets no matter what, don't believe the hype.
And as usual the regular working and lower class citizens of New York have to take to hit for corporate greed. How many of these neighborhoods being affected by voltage reduction are minority neighborhoods? Are all the lights still on in Times Square and on the Upper East Side, are they still nice and comfy in their air-conditioned homes? And people should feel at ease knowing the Governor is monitoring the situation, he'll be able to make a speech if the lights go out that nobody will see or hear. He's the other side of a trick coin along with Bloomberg, and his disdain for union workers runs about parallel to Mike. He would be about as much help in coming to a fair agreement with union workers as a Great White shark would be as a lifeguard. And the fact that this whole event has actually silenced the Walking Sound-Bite, Emperor Press Conference must mean that this heart wave is the beginning of the Apocalypse. Could also be him or some of his running buddies have money in Con Ed, or maybe he's just been in the Bahamas all week. Snowstorms, heatwaves, you know he can't be bothered with all this inclement weather......
I KNOW YOU CAN'T TAKE THESE ENERGY TYCOONS SERIOUSLY. THEY ARE OUT OF TOUCH. TAKE FOR INSTANCE, A DUKE ENERGY C.E.O. NAMED BILL JOHNSON WHO JUST RECEIVED $44.4 MILLION FOR THREE DAYS WORK AT DUKE ENERGY. WHEN YOU READ THESE STORIES YOU FEEL TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF. THE ENERGY C.E.O.'S EAT FROM THE SAME MONEY TROUGH.
JOE, BAY TERRACE
Cuomo-sen as usual is risk-averse but I find bloomberg's silence strangely irresponsible; its on his watch and he couldn't care less. This is the Republican mantra and credo. An Ed Koch or John Lindsay would have either sat down or settled the strike buy now.
This is how a company rewards it workers at contract time. Management rewards each other by giving out raises when they meet its goals. In reality its the union workers who put their life on the line everyday. This is a dangerous job; transformers blow up, feeders take off, manholes explode at any given time! people get hurt and some die! This company should thank their workers and give them a fair contract because they are the ones who make the company what it is.Burke and Ivey should be ashamed of themselves.
The monopoly held by Con Ed over the supply of electricity to the City should be busted up.
The monopoly on labor at Con Ed held by the unions should be busted up.
Port Richmond, SI
Not only should they be public, but they should be live-streamed on the internet! There should be chat room access to the negotiating table for both middle management and union guys! And the public should be able to watch the stream too! One of the things ConEd has been touting about itself for the past few years is it's commitment to openness and transparency, yet this seems to be the exception. I thing bargaining in "good faith" would be likely if they knew that everyone could see the shenenagins. And by "they" I mean the ConEd AND the Union. Hell, throw some PPM ads on it and it'll pay for the raises!
Locked Out Union Guy
WHY HAS THERE NOT BEEN MORE EXTENSIVE MEDIA COVERAGE OF THIS SITUATION? WHY ARE WE BEING INUNDATED WITH INFORMATION ABOUT HOLMES/CRUISE OR BALDWIN/THOMAS WHEN WE ARE FACING ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB ACTIONS INVOLVING THE 8500 UTILITY WORKERS AND CONSOLIDATED EDISON? ONCE AGAIN, CORPORATE AMERICA’S UNBRIDLED GREED IS BEING IGNORED. THESE EMPLOYEES ARE NOT ASKING FOR A WAGE INCREASE OR EVEN BENEFIT ENHANCEMENT! THEY ARE ONLY ASKING THAT THE HARD WON BENEFITS THEY HAVE IN PLACE BE HONORED! CON ED HAS ENJOYED UNPRECEDENTED PROFITS AND RATE INCREASES, MR. BURKE ENJOYS AN OBSCENE ANNUAL INCOME AND HE IS DEMANDING THESE UNION MEMBERS GIVE BACK THE BENEFITS THAT ALLOW THEM TO FEED, CLOTH, EDUCATE AND INSURE THE HEALTH OF THEIR FAMILIES? IN ADDITION TO THEIR BOLDFACED GREED, THEY NOW WANT TO SILENCE ANY OPPOSITION TO THEIR ATTEMPTS TO STRIP THESE WORKERS OF SAID BENEFITS BY REQUESTING A JUDGE ORDER THE PICKETTING HALTED!
UNBELIEVABLE! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO AMERICA! THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NEED TO WAKE UP! THERE IS NO MIDDLE CLASS DUE TO CORPORATE GREED! THE REASON WE ARE NOT ALL WORKING IN AND FOR TRIANGLE DRESS FACTORY CONDITIONS AND WAGES IS BECAUSE OF UNIONS! THESE PEOPLE HAVE A JUST AND LEGITIMATE CAUSE AND DESERVE THE SUPPORT OF ALL WHO DEPLORE THE KEVIN BURKES AND BIG BUSINESS GREED THAT IS TRULY KILLING THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE. BEWARE AMERICA, WE ARE RETURNING TO A SERFDOM!
TERRI FROM QUEENS
They are the men who hide behind the name Con Edison .They dish out fear and uncertainty to over 8000 working families.Their multi million dollar pay checks make them feel superior to the working men and woman of Con Edison. They know all the names and address of us 8000 whose homes they instill this fear and uncertainty.This is where our children live.How superior would they feel if their children and family felt fear and uncertainty in their homes. Would they trade their millions to make their families feel safe? or is the money more important ? What do you think?
Generally, when Politicians "step In" they create more problems. Are Con Edison "managers" waiting for a city-wide blackout before they sign the Union contract.
Con Edison Managers should step away from their computer screens, get back to the bargaining table immediately , and sign the contract. New York cannot rely on a few inexperienced managers to keep our City lit.
This is an unbiased opinion; no family or friends work for Con Edison.
I support the Con Edison workers as they fight to keep their health benefits and negotiate a fair contract. Corporations are feeling more empowered than ever to bully working class people, especially union members. They are blaming the workers' (sometimes) fair salaries, pensions, and health benefits for the economic downturn. We can't believe the hype. My favorite part of this saga was reading about how ConEd sent managers out into the field to do the work of the locked-out electricians and, of course, it was an epic fail. Keep up the fight, ConEd workers!
We don't get bonuses...supervision does based on production from union workers. The CEO gets a guaranteed pension and they want to take it away from us. We do the work and others get the glory. Does this seem fair?
Of course they should be made public Just to prove that Burke is a liar!!!! Con ed is greedy!!!!! $15 million dollar bonuses to corporate heads off the blood and sweat of employees!!!
Where oh where art thou Bloomberg? Even though this is largely a private issue Bloomberg as mayor of this fair city needs to step up to the plate and get both sides at the table. If we had any other mayor it be already be a done deal. But Bloomberg is delinquent. The lights could go out at anytime and then where would 8 millions of us be? Bloomberg wouldn't care because he would be away for the weekend just as he was when the blizzard hit. He needs to step in and do the right thing.
upper west side
The workers are very well paid and have Cadillac benefits. We have the highest rates in the US. Can't possibly support the union.
i am a con ed employee and what the company has done to us is unforgivable. if the think we are going to be dedicated workers when we get back, they are sadly mistaken. kevin burke and poison ivy should go.
Con Edison is putting the lives of all their customers at risk in this heat wave by locking out their workers. It's just corporate greed! These workers deserve to get a decent wage, benefits and a pension.
Debbie from Whitestone
Not only do we have no health insurance, they held our 40 hr checks from last week! Yes no one got a paycheck this week. Now Burke wants unemployment to pay 3.4 million a week! Burke should be held responsible and let him pay the 3.4 million. He is costing us taxpayers lots of money! Whatever it takes, Local 1-2 is not giving up!
Also Burke is trying to get a court order so we can't picket anymore! Now he is trying to change the constitution, whatever happened to freedom of speech! Is this guy serious.
I've been an employee for Con Edison since 2001. I started out as a meter reader then went threw the ranks in steam operations from a helper to a lead mechanic and now I'm currently an inspector in construction. My family is suffering because they cut off our medical coverage. This is not fair. Friday my management team took all of our equipment and office key access from all union workers which leads me to believe that this was all planned. It sickens me to see our city officials stand back and keep silent. Our mayor is an embarrassment to public office. 8500 families are suffering.
We do not to fear that this country is headed towards Socialism. We are deep into something far, far worse. We are a feudal system struggling under an oligarchy.
I've been told by my management office that con ed is going to do an automatic black out tomorrow because of the weather if that is true ..they should get nothing they are asking for ..the politicians should not step in if con ed leaves the city in the dark
I know Con Ed is fair game and looking like a beast but has anybody considered exactly what the union is demanding? No. They won’t say. Perhaps because their demands are unreasonable and putting a stranglehold on Con Ed which will only be passed on to the consumer. Why don’t they make their demands public?
With management doing the work of the 8,500 LOCKED OUT union members, there is no doubt they will be falling behind on their performance goals enforced by the Public Service Commission. When this happens, Con Edison will receive stiff penalties for not meeting these goals, and the CUSTOMERS will be expected to pay these fines in their rates! I assure you that the penalties will NOT come from the pockets of CEO Kevin Burke or any management employee. Con Edison says these management employees have come up through the union ranks, but what they have failed to mention is how long they have gone without doing this type of work. It has only been a handful of days and already 3 management employees were injured while on the job. If a union member were to get injured, the incident would be investigated and the employee could possibly be suspended without pay. Now that it is a management employee getting injured, spokesman Michael Clendenin said "Employees get injured, it is a dangerous job" - I say how convenient! Con Edison is putting them, as well as the public, in immense danger! They need to realize the importance of having a crew that knows what they're doing do this type of work and stop trying to bust our union, cause it aint gonna happen! LOCAL 1-2 Whatever it takes!
Anthony from Ridgewood, NY
I think the people need to listen to the workers and get out there and support the worker during this time. I have family and so many friends who work for con ed.. All these hard working people are out of work because all they want is what they had.. They aren't asking for anything more.. just what they have ad go back to work after all they are hard working tax payers making ends meet pay check to pay check
I think the people need to listen to the workers and get out there and support the worker during this time. I have family and so many friends who work for con ed.. All these hard working people are out of work because all they want is what they had.. They aren't asking for anything more.. just what they have ad go back to work after all they are hard working tax payers making ends meet pay check to pay check
I say, " et's all take the streets next week. all nyc taken over by it's workers." that will get the major,the governor and every other perk at city hall involved.
My husband has been in the local 1-2 for 11 years. We have a 6 month old & a 4 year old. I have been diabetic for 28 years. We have no health insurance, no income, no way of paying for medicine, food, formula....WE ARE JUST ONE OUT OF 8.500 FAMILIES. I understand that Con ed is not a city run company but this is happening in the state of NEW YORK....How can the mayor, the governor, congressmen etc. justify not getting involved?
From Lea in Floral Park
I can understand if the specifics of the contract don't want to be released to the public since nothing is concrete as if now, but why not let the public know what the struggle is all about?
I don't trust these corporations with their lawyer entourage always looking for loopholes to their favor. So I say what about the middle class union workers? What about their years of experience? What about their well-being and of their families? Why should they sacrifice not getting paid and losing their health insurance for the sake of having to go on strike to just earning a living wage? I don't get it.
Elected officials...where are they? Is Mayor Bloomberg enjoying his July 4th holiday weekend? I know he's friends with CEO Kevin Burke, so is he hiding and hoping that it'll be resolved on its own by the union budging? Elected officials have a moral responsibility to involve themselves with the betterment of their constituents and the large majority of them are the union workers of Con Ed? Where are you Mayor Bloomberg? Where are you Governor Cuomo?
Corporate bullying at its best !!!!!
When the trains are threatened the governor/mayor step in and they should settle this con Ed mess before people suffer from electrical outages. Both trains and electricity are necessities. Greedy types should consider the elderly.
Tom in Mt. Vernon
The politicians will get involved once they air condirioners and lights go off too...disgusting...it's all about greed as usual
It should be noted that Con Ed President Craig Ivey, a Harvard grad was brought in in December 2009, 1 year after the last contract negotiation in which Con Edison attempted, unsuccessfully, to do away with the traditional Pension plan. It appears that part of the goal was for him to pressure the Union into accepting a cash balance pension plan. To break the Union if necessary. Craig Ivey has been on a cost cutting crusade since he arrived. This at the cost of the safety & welfare of the workers. However the cost cutting does not include those at the top namely Kevin Burke whose salary exceeded 11 million dollars (more than 3 times the average salary for utility CEO’s) and Craig Ivey whose total compensation is reported to be $2,652,240. Also exempt is the 20% increase for board members.
The company wants the membership to go from 14% in raises to 2% over a 4 year span, $65.00 a week family medical deduction to $130.00 the first year. no full pay for sick time, cash pension no matter how many years you have and to show good faith they lock us out 2 hours after contract expired and canceled our medical benefits. Then they publish an ad that says it's our fault we were locked out. Playing hardball is one thing , but why would Con Ed end our medical benefits unless they specifically wanted to harm the members?
No one should profit from the reduction of public services. Con Ed should be forced to refund customers for there losses if any. Since Con Edison removed the workers they must bear full responsibility under the penalty of applicable laws.
Why should NY put up with this. If Con Edison could make due with 5K managers why did they hire 8.5K employees? I wonder if there managers are being fairly compensated for the extra work. I sincerely hope they are not being forced to work like slaves so that senior management could make a point. The government needs to get involved.
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
I want to say I found this web site very interesting.
Thank you for posting all the comments.
Thank you for all the support!
My husband has worked his butt off for ConEd for over 37 years and this is what he gets from them! They stopped our health insurance with out warning!! Shame on you ConEd!!!
Since there is no pay check, there are no pay roll deductions for important things like life, car & home insurance premiums. This also was without warning!! They are disrupting all of our lives!! Shame shame on you ConEd!!!!
In the mean time ConEdison's big shots are getting richer on our union workers blood, sweat & tears! Shame, shame, shame on you ConEd!!!! They wanted advance notice if the union decided to strike, what bull. Did they give their devoted employees advance notice that they would be locked out of their jobs, and loose all their benefits????
We all would like to know the details of the talks, after all it affects all our lives! Why is it such a secret? Who is playing hard ball?
We also, would like to know where is Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo at this time? What are they waiting for to step in, the biggest black out in many years??? Shane on you Bloomberg & Cuomo!!!
Camille, Farmingdale, NY
What a Shame we don't see any of the politicians commenting. I expect this from Mayor Bloomberg being that he is friends with Kevin Burke,.How can Con Edison cry poverty when they made over 3.2 Billion dollars last year. All we are asking for is a fair and equitable contract.
Looks like all 8500 of us family and friends should look to support Gov Cuomo's opponent in the next election so possibly 15k+ plus votes the Gov will lose for 1 friendship with Con Ed board member Michael DelGuidce sounds like he is a smart man
It is great to see how concern our mayor is about what's going on in NY. As 8500 of us is out of jobs, no medical coverage for our children, people are on life support in hospitals, we can no longer afford to support our families but he can get on tv to comment about a 150$ parking ticket someone got for no reason. What a great sense of priority.
I am a wife of a Con Edison employee with 35 years of service. As you can imagine, I am heartbroken as to what is going on. We were a couple of years away from retiring, and now I am wondering if this goes on for long will we lose our house? Anyway, the main reason for this e-mail is to personally thank John for caring enough about us to even call on Mayor Bloomberg to help us. It means so much to me.
I also would like to say that I think if people become rich and work hard, that is wonderful. However, to become rich by hurting others is sinful! Also, if Mayor Bloomberg doesn't want to step on his friend's toes, I can accept that. However, then he should step down as being the New York State Mayor, and go home and persue his personal relationships!!!!! One day these rich people will realize that there are some things that money just cannot buy!
Con Ed fails to tell the public and media that they run a workforce of about 13,500 employees under Kevin Burke and Craig Ivey with 9 Senior Vice Presidents with an average salary of $485,000 not including bonuses and stock options- 30 Vice Presidents with an average salary of $346,500 not including bonuses and stock options - along with a host of General Managers, Plant Managers, Directors, Department Managers, Section Managers, Substation Area Managers, Chief Engineers, Operations Managers, Maintanence Managers, Technical Managers, Construction Managers etc. and a 18th floor at 4 Irving Place full of high priced Attorneys.
New York City is Con Edison top heavy or what?
Con Edison owns more real estate that anyone in New York City yet they continue to lease buildings that they don't own.
Keep in mind that 1 President and 1 Vice President run this whole country. Con Ed is making record profits with its stock at an all time high. You can't make this sh*t up. When the union employees return to work all the KPI'S (Key Performance Indicators) go out the window and overtime will be at an all time high. Customers beware that your rates will skyrocket for sure.
I have worked for Con Ed for 22 years, my father for 38 years. The Union workers only want to keep what they currently have. We are not asking for anything more. Since I have been employed we have given back something to the company at every contract negotiation. Higher medical costs, lower sick day allowances, etc. Now they want us to work until we're 60 instead off 55 to receive a full pension. Cops and firemen, with all due great respect, work 20 years and get pensioned, not one of them will clear a fire in a manhole. We are forced to work on live electricity in the rain, snow, heat etc. The Company has been talking for years about open communication, cooperation, respect, etc. Then they only let the media know what they want them to know. They don't advertise how many employees are sick from the chemicals and asbestos we work around everyday. I have asthma from Ground Zero and they cut my health benefits! They are the ones who sent me there! Then they expect us to give up the right to strike in order to continue negotiations.
They want us to pay for our own pensions like a 401K plan unless you are 50 years old by January 1, 2013. I will be 48, should I have to start paying for a pension after 22 years on the job? What about the new employees? The company stock is over $60 a share and the company NETTED over 1.2 BILLION in PROFIT in 2011. Should they have to pay into their pension for the next 25+ years? I hope that the Union does not cave in to the cash balance pension, it spells the beginning of the end. I wish that other Unions would join us at the picket sites and support us. Here are some:
Corporate headquarters 4 Irving Place NY NY Van Nest Yard - 1640 White Plains Rd Bronx NY Bruckner Yard - Bruckner Blvd near Morrison Ave Bronx NY
I love how con ed has locked out it employees and has crews from the south up here working mean while those crews should be in there own state restoring power.
I am a 40 year employee of Con Edison and a 40 year member of Local 1-2 Utility Workers Union of America.
Con Edison has called upon the union workers for many emergencies and disasters over the years. They have always praised us in our response time and work ethic in getting the system back up and running to serve their customers. Now, Con Edison shows us their gratitude by locking us out of work. Without the skilled union employees of local 1-2, their only care is their board of directors and their CEO filling their pockets. Con Edison union employees always felt that Con Edison was a large family that looked out for each other, and now we are being told by management negotiators that we are no longer a family, but a business instead.
Con Edison should take a look back at the union brothers and sisters who have lost their lives over the years, keeping the system up and running. I urge the public and all Con Ed customers to take a look and see how they really run their business.
Since 1937, the Utility Workers Local 1-2 has been fighting for and winning basic rights that are now under attack in this lockout. Decent pensions for workers who have spent decades in hot, asbestos- and PCB-filled environments to bring power into our homes is something we all should support. Everyone, no matter where they work, deserves a decent pension. Management wants to use the fact that some people have pensions while many do not as a divide-and-conquer tactic to end pensions for all.
In 2008, management tried to force the union to accept an end to pensions that guarantee a monthly benefit. They wanted to end it for all newly hired workers knowing that over a short time no worker would have a guaranteed pension. Under their plan, new workers would only have a 401(k), which means that they would live at the whim of the stock market, which wiped out the savings of millions of workers in just the last five years. In 2008, the union stopped this plan. Now management is focused on eliminating guaranteed pensions again—this time by the force of a lockout.
The threat is very real and very immediate. Over 30 percent of the workers have under five years on the job. Older workers are retiring. Any agreement for a two-tier pension will rip apart solidarity. Con Ed workers doing the same job in a manhole or a bucket truck or in a substation or in a clerical position all deserve the same benefits!
This is a high-profile battle in New York, and if massively profitable Con Ed can get away with it against these workers, every other employer will feel emboldened to cut wages and rights. That’s why every worker should show solidarity with the utility workers.
Con Ed charges the highest residential rates of any major utility in the lower 48 states. Residents in Alaska, Hawaii and some islands off of the coast of Maine pay more. The only reason for this is the fact that the New York political power structure allows it to happen.
When deregulation was sold to the people years ago, it was done on the basis of the lie that it would be better for the consumer. Instead, it has been hell for energy company workers and consumers across the country. It has only benefited the rich and those companies able to swallow other companies in an inexorable drive towards monopoly.
As a part of deregulation, in November 1999 the state created the New York Independent System Operator. From that point to 2001, wholesale electric prices in New York rose over 100 percent in just two years! Since then, rate increases have kept basic heat, light and cool air out of reach for thousands of people.
Income taxes for Con Ed
Between 2008 and 2010, Con Ed’s profit was $4.263 billion. But it did not pay any income tax. In fact, it got a $127 million refund.
In 2010, Con Ed had a profit of over $1.5 billion. But it did not pay any income tax. In fact, it got a $144 million refund.
Con Ed’s Feb. 21 report stated, “For 2011, 2010 and 2009, the Companies had no current federal income tax liability as a result of, among other things, the bonus depreciation provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010.” The report admitted that they got a $236 million tax refund in 2011.
Who owns Con Ed?
Finance capital, the banks and private equity companies control Con Ed. There are 641 financial institutions that own stock in Con Ed, and collectively they control 42 percent of Con Ed shares, effectively giving them total control of the company. More importantly, just five finance companies, including State Street Corporation, BlackRock, Bank of New York Mellon, and the Vanguard Group, control 20 percent of Con Ed stock. These are the forces that are gouging you with high bills and that are trying to rip the heart out of the utility workers' union.
Finance capital’s control exercised through Board of Directors.
These captains of finance have “front men,” the Board of Directors of Con Ed, which does their bidding.
On the board are representatives of some of the richest, most anti-labor, anti-community corporations, as well as people with feet in the political power establishment.
Kevin Burke driving the program of finance capital
Kevin Burke is the chairman and CEO of Con Ed. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Business Council of New York State, as well as the American Gas Association, and the Economic Club of New York. He is deeply connected to the broader big business interests in New York.
Burke is also on the Board of Directors of Honeywell, a profitable corporation that on June 28, 2010, locked out 229 members of United Steelworkers Local 7-669 from its uranium conversion facility in Metropolis, Ill., in an attempt to eliminate seniority and retiree health car and other basic rights. This plant is the largest conversion plant in the world to produce nuclear fuel for commercial reactors, and the number of workers dying from cancer is astounding.
In 2011, Kevin Burke’s compensation from Con Ed was $10,965,047. This was 322 times the average worker's pay.
It would take a worker making minimum wage 727 years to earn what Kevin Burke makes in just one year. In fact it would take a U.S. president 27 years to make what Burke makes in one year.
His pension is not under attack, but he wants to attack the pensions of Con Ed workers.
The role of the state: exposing the so-called 'Public Service Commission'
The “Public Service Commission” was set up as a result of a struggle to rein in the big energy and other utility companies, to stop them from price gouging. But this was a sham. From the beginning, its actions has been in the interest of big business. Time after time, they have raised rates even when Con Ed was making money and even when poor and working people could not afford more. (See the box below for a short history on increases.)
In 2006, this “commission” held hearings on the massive power outage in Queens but refused to advertise the hearing in any language other than English. Most of residents in the affected section of Queens were immigrants.
The Public Service Commission has not even done what others have around the country, such as requiring much lower rates for the poor. In New York, the rate reduction is 5 percent while in California it is 20 percent. (Southern California Edison)
Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party have supported the system of profits before people. Both demanded deregulation, and both voted to destroy regulation. Both have supported the fiction about the capitalist market producing the best and cheapest gas and electric service.
This policy, now enforced by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, allows for monopolies to buy and sell at undisclosed prices—even with market malfunctions, price rigging and huge overcharges. On June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a review that challenged this setup.
Even without the rigging, however, the system is designed for the profit of a few—that profit coming from the labor of workers like those at Con Ed.
Deregulation has ultimately led to more monopoly and a drive to reduce wages, benefits and rights for workers and communities. It has always led to higher prices.
The role of the Public Service Commission:
A history of constant gas and electric price increases despite jobs being cut and wages not rising to even meet inflation
March 2010, PSC voted unanimously to raise Con Ed's rates for electricity by about 4 percent annually for three years. The plan was intended to add $420 million to Con Ed’s annual revenues, on average, over the three years. Con Ed estimated that the increases would raise a typical household bill, now about $84 a month, to more than $94 a month in 2012.
Nov 2009, Con Ed filed papers with the PSC to raise the price of gas for residents by 6 percent a year for three years and is seeking permission from the board to raise residential gas prices 6 percent annually beginning in October 2010 (note that their 3rd quarter profits this year were up 85 percent). They did not care that poor and working people could not afford the increase. In June 2009, 13 percent of Con Ed's residential customers on Staten Island were 60 days late in paying their bill, up from 11 percent a year earlier. On Staten Island alone, shut-offs were up over 9 percent from a year earlier.
May 2009, “Con Edison submitted plans to state regulators … that would increase monthly electricity bills in 2010 by as much as $8 for typical residential customers.” They filed this proposal less than three weeks after the April 21, 2009, PSC approval of an increase of about $6 per month. That $6 added up to $523.4 million more for Con Ed. But that is not all. On top of the $6 was an added surcharge raising another $198 million for Con Ed. In total, the increase was 6.1 percent across the system. (The New York Times, April 22 and May 8, 2009)
October 2008, Con Ed admitted that during September 2008, 9,639 residential customers had their electricity turned off for nonpayment, 13 percent more than in the same period in 2007. “In September, 342,073 residential customers were in arrears for more than 60 days, an 18 percent jump from the same period the year before.” (The New York Times, Oct. 10, 2008)
May 2008, Con Ed seeks another rate increase to add $557 million more to their coffers—only weeks after getting approval for a rate increase that added $425 million rise in electricity rates.
April 2008, “Customers in western Queens can expect to receive about $100 each from Consolidated Edison as compensation for having to sweat through nine days without power in July 2006.” (The New York Times, April 24, 2008)
March 2008, “Con Ed Wins Approval for a Big One-Time Increase Rates for Electric Service.” The PSC gave unanimous approval for a $425 million increase in rates for ConEd. (The New York Times, March 20, 2008)
September 2007, PSC says Con Ed should get another rate increase in transmission prices—$618 million in the year starting in April 2008. (The New York Times, Sept. 8, 2007)
May 2007, Con Ed filed papers to get a 17 percent residential rate increase—this triggered big protests in Queens at public hearings.
July 2006, Con Ed caught in a lie that they describe as a “discrepancy.” Instead of 2,000 affected by a blackout in Queens, there were closer to 100,000. (They had only counted complaints to arrive at a lower number for the press.) (The New York Times, July 21, 2006)
March 16, 2005, PSC approves an electricity rate increase for Con Ed, adding $325 million to their coffers.
April 2001, The New York Times: “Electric bills in New York have hit record highs in the last year, but Consolidated Edison and state regulators say they should have been a tad higher. State officials have given Con Edison the go-ahead to raise its rates by $6 million a month, to correct what they and the company say was a mathematical error the utility made a year ago.” (April 28, 2001)
August 2000, The New York Times: “Millions of Consolidated Edison customers got a rude shock last month when they discovered that even though this was one of the coolest summers in memory, their electricity bills had increased by an average of 43 percent over last summer.” (Aug. 22, 2000)
September 1997, ConEd and state regulators agreed to a plan—a cut in rates, a break up Con Ed into several pieces and to competition among power companies in a market that Con Ed has held for decades as a monopoly. … Con Ed's rates are about double the national average, and are the second highest in the continental United States, after the Long Island Lighting Company's. At the time, The New York Times reported, “The New York Public Interest Research Group said that, despite the changes, it opposed the agreement on both consumer and environmental grounds. 'The whole thing was stage managed so that the Governor could look like the hero by improving somewhat on a truly terrible deal,' said Larry Shapiro, a lawyer at the group.” (Sept. 11, 1997)
March 1993, PSC approved a 5 percent electricity rate increase for ConEd. (The New York Times, March 11, 1993)
August 1987, Con Ed agrees to freeze rates for gas customers for two years— because its corporate income tax rate was reduced from 46 percent to 34 percent. (The New York Times, Aug. 7, 1987) That decrease was not limited to two years. (The New York Times, March 5, 1987)
March 1981, PSC unanimously approved a 15.5 percent rate increase for Con Ed—largest on record in New York state and the full amount that they requested in April 1980. (The New York Times, March 13, 1981)
(ontent may be reprinted with credit to LiberationNews.)