Updated 07/16/2012 05:33 PM
Con Ed, Union Leaders Sweat Out Ongoing Contract Talks
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There's still no contract agreement despite another session at the bargaining table between Con Edison and Local 1-2 on Monday.
Pensions and wages remain sticking points.
Union officials called for intervention by state utility regulators.
They want officials to investigate Con Ed for pulling the plug on workers' health benefits.
Those benefits were restored this weekend.
"I thought that by them cutting off medical for 8,500 members, it was ridiculous," said Jason Ayala, a union steward for Local 1-2. "It was a disgrace."
"Because it's the law and we were going to have a news conference of all the handicapped kids out there with no medical coverage, all of a sudden the company decides we don't want our name in the newspaper looking like bad guys, like they did us a big favor," said Con Ed worker Salvatore Guercio.
The union said Con Ed is billing its customers for union labor it was not providing.
"We've done exactly what was appropriate and correct to protect our customers during this labor dispute to keep the power flowing to them as they need it," said Con Ed spokesperson Michael Clendenin.
Workers have been locked out since July 1, when talks broke down.
5,000 Con Ed managers have been filling in since then.
With this week's extreme heat, the utility is reducing voltage by 5 percent in Manhattan's Midtown East, East Side and Roosevelt Island.
With no movement in negotiations, memories of the last work stoppage, a strike almost 30 years ago, are surfacing among veteran employees.
"Going through the last one in 1983, it was a horror, a horror show," said Guercio.
That previous strike lasted nine weeks.