With a labor dispute keeping employees of Con Edison locked out, there are renewed calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to intervene and help broker a deal. But a new revelation that Con Edison donated roughly $250,000 to a pro-Cuomo advocacy group could color the governor's ability to be a mediator. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
It was another day on the picket line for Consolidated Edison workers and their supporters as news to light that Con Edison donated $250,000 to the committee to Save New York, a lobbying group that promotes Gov. Andrew Cuomo's agenda.
"Well certainly, the board made that decision to make that donation," said John Melia of the Utility Workers Union. "And as such, many of our members believe in the company or did believe in the company and they own shares of Con Ed stock. They weren't consulted on this donation."
Sitting on Con Edison's board of directors is longtime Cuomo family friend and confidante, Michael Del Giudice. The Cuomo administration says that the connections to Del Giudice won't compromise the Governor's ability to play a role as an independent broker in the labor dispute.
Administration officials point out that Del Giudice also sits on the New York Racing Association board, which the governor recently took over after allegations of mismanagement.
As for any donations, Cuomo's Spokesman Josh Vlasto said "Both Con Ed and the union supported and directly donated to the governor. The governor and his administration has urged both sides to resolve the lockout as soon as possible."
"In a way, he would be the perfect person to come in and mediate this," said State Sen. Tom Duane. "And he is good at that, believe me. I have had experience watching him mediate."
Union leaders are critical that in May, Del Giudice and other board members received a 20 percent increase in their compensation for serving on the board.
"All of the compensation for our executives is public," said Con Ed spokesperson Michael Clendenin. "It's filed with the SEC in a proxy. But this issue, this whole labor dispute is not about executive pay versus underpaid workers. Employees at Con Edison are paid very well."
Both Con Edison and the union said they have reached out to the governor's office, which has offered to help. So far, the governor has taken no active role in trying to negotiate an agreement. What is going on behind the scenes is anybody's guess but so far, the dispute remains unresolved.