Tag Archives: Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2

Three weeks in, health insurance reinstated for Con Ed workers


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Three weeks after contract negotiations began between Con Ed and representatives from the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, the utility giant reinstated health coverage for its 8,500 locked out workers.

Local 1-2 spokesperson John Melia claimed the company’s decision to cut off health insurance at the start of the lockout was illegal.

“They broke the law, we caught them at it and they put insurance back in place,” said Melia. “They knew they broke the law. They knew they were in the wrong.”

According to Melia, Con Ed cost state unemployment assistance agencies millions of dollars after refusing to pay for workers’ benefits, forcing them to look elsewhere for help. Melia added that since the company is self-insured, revoking benefits was a “double crime against the 8,500 New York families” affected during the lockout.

“They don’t care about their customers and they don’t care about their workers,” said Melia. “How are they getting away with charging the people of New York to throw workers on the street?”

According to a Con Ed spokesperson, employees who worked after midnight on June 30 — the day the contract ran out –- continued to receive health care through the month of July. Those who did not work past the first of the month were released from their company-offered insurance and instead presented with the option of purchasing benefits through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) — a Department of Labor-sponsored program that provides dismissed or laid-off workers and their families benefits. The representative said only a very small number of workers retained coverage in the interim.

On July 15, Con Ed officials notified union leadership after deciding to reinstate coverage for all locked out workers through July. Medical costs incurred during the course of the lockout will also be covered. The official did not say why Con Ed executives came to this conclusion.

Neither side could say whether or not talks had progressed any further.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Qns. state Assembly candidate profits from prostitution ads in his newspaper

A Queens state Assembly candidate who publishes a Korean-language newspaper is profiting from ads for a prostitution ring on the paper’s back pages, The Post has learned. Myungsuk Lee, 49, the owner of the Korean American Times, is one of several Democrats vying for an open seat in the newly created 40th District. He trumpets his accomplishments on the paper’s front pages — while the back pages run ads for massage services that serve as covers for prostitution, sex workers said. Read more: [New York Post] 

Rockaway residents worry beach is getting trashy 

Lauren O’Connor lives near the shore in Rockaway. But trying to get to the sand with her toddler daughter is no easy feat. Once she gets there, the trash on the beach adds insult to injury. “There’s no ramp anymore so I have to somehow get this big wagon down the stairs,” said O’Connor. “Then I get down here and it’s filthy. I have to clean it up.” Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Former Congressman Weiner reportedly eyes political comeback 

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner is reportedly engineering a political comeback, as he still has more than $4 million in his campaign coffers. Sources tell the New York Post that Weiner is considering a run for mayor or public advocate next year. Read more: [NY1] 

Social Security snafu traps Queens woman 

A Queens septuagenarian became entangled in a bureaucratic snafu after an agency deemed her incapable of handling her own money. The unwelcome surprise tarnished her golden years, she says, and should be a cautionary tale for fellow seniors. Forest Hills resident Beverely Byrne said her Social Security check was mistakenly given to the city Human Resource Administration to manage in May under incorrect pretenses. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Mayor: NYCLU does not “do anything” to end need for stop-and-frisks 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg continued to vigorously defend the city’s Stop & Frisk policy during a visit to a church in St. Albans, Queens on Sunday. Speaking at the Greater Allen Cathedral, the mayor said the policy has a proven track record and has recovered thousands of illegal guns over the past decade. Read more: [NY1] 

UPDATE: Con Ed reinstates health insurance for locked-out workers; negotiations to resume Monday 

Consolidated Edison of New York has reinstated health insurance for 8,500 locked-out New York utility workers. A Con Ed spokesman said on Sunday that negotiations with the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 will resume on Monday, as another heat wave is expected to hit New York City. Read more: [1010wins] 

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


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Con Ed

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.