It’s a difficult balance to achieve. Power prices in New York City are already nearly two-thirds higher than the average price paid by consumers in other U.S. cities during any given month of the year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet in fairness to the union, much of that cost is associated with high taxes, mismanagement of New York’s electric grid, and transmission constraints that severely limit New York City’s ability to import power, much of which is beyond the control of Con Ed.
Con Ed’s union salaries differ significantly depending on one’s job title. On the engineer and technical support side, a help desk engineer can earn an average of $45,000. An engineer may earn an average of $83,143, while a supervisor who may oversee an entire electrical grid can earn anywhere from $97,000 to $104,000 per year. Overall, the average salary at Consolidated Edison is $69,924. Con Ed has 13,000 employees including union members.
As the contract deadline approached, some union workers resorted to a familiar tactic. 200-300 of them staged a rally in downtown Manhattan, chanting “if we go out, the lights go out.” Union delegate Tony Ballone told Reuters that, with respect to contract negotiations, “they (ConEd) want to take everything we have fought for 50 years.” “We’re the first responders, we come out in rain and snow, we keep the lights on. All we want is a fair contract,” he added.
In the meantime, the company announced that it has assigned 5,000 “trained” managers to maintain electric, gas and steam service to its 3.3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County. Yet it also announced that its walk-in centers will be closed, meter readings will be suspended, and work on major construction projects in New York will be limited. The union believes the company’s efforts may be insufficient to keep electricity flowing in the midst of a brutal heat wave that extends at least through today.
“This is crazy! There’s a heat wave,” said David Palomino, who came to Con Ed’s headquarters near Manhattan’s Union Square early yesterday in an effort to find out what’s happening next. As of early yesterday, only two workers stood near barricades city police had set up in front of the building. More were expected to show up, once the news of the lockout became more widely known. It remains to be seen where the inevitable demonstrations will lead. A similar strike in 1983 lasted nine weeks.
Summer in New York City is about to get a lot hotter.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.
Pages: 1 2