- Last Updated: 3:38 PM, July 26, 2012
- Posted: 12:17 PM, July 26, 2012
Con Ed has and its locked out workers reached a long-term deal today, ending their labor stalemate in the nick time as New Yorkers brace for a major storm this afternoon and evening.
The tentative contract means 8,000 previously locked-out employees can get back to work as the region prepares for heavy rains and high winds.
“The storm changed the tone,” Gov. Cuomo said labor talks. “It was a good deal, I believe for both sides.”
Announcement of the labor pact came hours after Cuomo brokered a temporary deal that brought 3,000 workers back on the job for the storm and post-storm restoration work..
But under that loose pact, there was no guarantee the lockout wouldn’t begin again.
“That potential danger has been averted,” Cuomo said. “The workers will come back immediately because what is paramount is the safety of New Yorkers.”
The utility giant locked its unionized employees on June 30 after their contract expired and negotiations failed to reach a new deal.
About 5,000 managers and replacement workers have kept the power going for 3.2 million customers in New York City and Westchester County.
“I’m glad we were able to reach this agreement,” said Michael Langford, national president of the Utility Workers Union of America.
“That is our No. 1 goal., our No. 1 priority is to make sure everybody has reliable, safe electricity, gas and water. That is our no. 1 priority.”
Con Ed CEO Kevin Burke vowed to keep the lights on through today’s storm.
“Con Edison and the unionized employees have been dedicated for years to try to provide the best service they can to New Yorkers,” he said.
“We have a storm coming. We always want to provide the best service. I’m glad to hear that the really skilled and dedicated employees … are going to come back and make sure people get the service that they expect, get the lights back on.”
Additional reporting by David K. Li