Updated 07/26/2012 06:59 PM
Tentative Deal Ends Con Ed Union Lock Out
A tentative deal was reached Thursday afternoon in the nearly month-long labor dispute between Consolidated Edison and its largest union. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
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It was the threat of very bad weather that broke the impasse in Con Ed's labor dispute.
After Gov. Andrew Cuomo brought the two sides together in his Midtown offices Thursday, they first announced workers would return to work temporarily to handle the severe weather.
Then, just two hours later, they emerged again to announce a labor agreement, the product, Cuomo said, of crisis.
"When we came together, as I said, about the storm, it was a much different tone and it was a cooperative tone," the governor said. "It wasn't about just a contract. It was about the safety of New Yorkers."
Some 8,000 workers, locked out since June 30, began returning to work almost immediately. Cuomo, after absorbing some criticism for not intervening sooner, got to play the role of white knight, drawing effusive praise from both sides.
"When people are far apart at times, you need somebody that has that personality and that charisma that the governor has," said Harry Farrell, the president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2.
"All of us know that he's been able in the state together that in the past weren't coming together," said Con Edison President and CEO Kevin Burke. "I think this is just one more example of that."
Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed, only that it's a four-year contract.
While Con Ed workers are back on the job for now, the agreement is technically a tentative one. It now goes to the union's executive board for approval, and after that, to the rank-and-file, who could vote on it as early as next week.