Con Edison, locked out workers to resume talks Friday

Thu Jul 5, 2012 11:26pm EDT
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By Scott DiSavino

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Contract talks between Consolidated Edison (ED.N: Quote) and locked out workers will resume on Friday while replacement crews worked to end additional brownouts as New York City sweltered in a prolonged heat wave.

The company and the union were in a negotiating session on Thursday that ended without any deal. Spokesmen for both Con Edison and the union told Reuters that discussions will resume on the following day.

High temperatures in New York, the biggest metropolitan area in the United States, were expected to reach the 90s Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) through the weekend, according to

Con Edison said it reduced the voltage by 5 percent in several Brooklyn neighborhoods Wednesday night as a precaution to protect the system and maintain service as crews fix equipment problems, the company said in a statement.

On Thursday afternoon, the company expanded the voltage reductions to several other Brooklyn neighborhoods to reduce the strain on the grid as crews work on equipment problems in those additional communities.

The latest series of voltage reductions was the first since the company locked out its 8,500-member unionized workers on Sunday after contract talks broke down.

Con Edison said the voltage reductions had nothing to do with the lockout, noting the company had also reduced voltage during a heat wave in June, before the lockout started, after heavy air conditioning usage strained the grid in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

The union, however, said the voltage reductions were a sign that Con Edison could not keep the system running without the union workers.   Continued...