Con Edison, union resume talks Tuesday as NYC bakes

Sun Jul 8, 2012 1:32am IST

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* Con Ed, union agree to resume talks on Tuesday
    * Voltage reductions lifted in city neighborhoods
    * New York City bakes as heat wave persists

    July 7 (Reuters) - Contract talks between Consolidated
Edison Inc and locked-out union workers ended on Saturday
after a few hours with both sides agreeing to meet again on
Tuesday as New York City baked in extreme heat.
    Con Ed spokesman Alfonso Quiroz confirmed negotiations
between the company and the union had concluded and will resume
Tuesday at noon. Saturday's negotiations started at about 10
a.m. EDT and went until around 1 p.m. EDT, he said.
    In a statement, the union said talks with Con Edison will
continue on Tuesday at a New York area hotel.
    John Melia, the spokesman for the Utility Workers Union of
America Local 1-2, representing 8,000 Con Edison union workers
locked out by the company on July 1, could not be reached after
Saturday's session.
    However, hours before talks began, Melia told Reuters:   
"They locked us out, it's really up to them. We've given them an
hour and if they come up with nothing, we have our federal
mediators with us. We can imagine they're just as frustrated as
we are." 
    In addition to health care costs and wages, one of the major
sticking points is the company's insistence that defined benefit
pensions be changed to a 401(k) type of retirement savings
account.
    Meanwhile, a heat wave broiled the Big Apple for a fourth
straight day, further straining air conditioners, the city's
power grid and replacement crews staffed mostly by Con Edison
managers.
    Temperatures in New York were in the 90s (30s C) on Saturday
and were expected to ease to about 90 F (32 C) on Sunday before
returning to more normal levels around the mid-80s next week,
according to AccuWeather.com.
   Friday night Con Edison lifted the 5 percent voltage
reduction in some city neighborhoods that was imposed earlier in
the week. Voltage reductions were made to protect the overall
system and maintain service as crews repaired lines feeding
power to communities.
    The reductions were the first since the company locked out
the union workers after contract talks broke down.
 
    Con Edison said the voltage reductions were unrelated to the
lockout, noting the company had reduced the voltage in parts of
Brooklyn and Queens during a heat wave before the lockout in
June.
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