Talks between Con Ed, union continue as heat wave bakes city

Leave a comment
Talks between Con Ed and Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 continued today with record high temperatures expected over the weekend.File photo
Talks between Con Ed and Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 continued today with record high temperatures expected over the weekend.

As the temperature rises, so does the risk of power outages, a fact that is magnified with Con Edison workers locked out as contract talks continue.

Temperatures are forecasted to reach 100 degrees on Saturday, and with 8,500 workers locked out, the task of maintaining the system — which can be strained in the heat — falls to 5,000 management personnel.

“We have to be prepared for anything in the hot weather,” said Con Ed spokesperson Sara Banda. “We have 5,000 management personnel, half of which came from the union.”

The company said voltage reductions are possible throughout the borough as a precaution as the heat increases, though there are none currently in Queens.

Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, which represents the locked out workers, said that in the sweltering heat, it’s only a matter of time before the heat wave affects service.

“God forbid something happens. The grid is under strain in the hot weather. You can see it from the voltage reduction,” said union spokesperson John Melia of the reductions in other parts of the city.

“[The locked out workers’] belief is that sooner or later — with this kind of heat — Con Ed will be overwhelmed and then that puts public lives in danger.”

Banda said Con Ed’s staff is ready for any emergency, but did not want to speculate on large scale outages.

Talks continued between Con Ed and the union today, thought little progress was made, Melia said.