Con Ed talks down to the wire
Updated 7:05: With a midnight strike deadline looming, talks between Con Edison and a union representing 9,000 of its workers are coming down to wire.
If talking seems futile later tonight, the union is prepared to walk.
"Its much too early to get our arms around it right now," said Joe Flaherty, a spokesman for the union, in an interview with amNewYork around 6:30 p.m.
A mediator is sitting down with Utility Workers Union Local 1-2 and power company representatives at 345 Hudson St.
Wages are one of several issues the two sides have been unable to agree upon. Late last week, Con Ed offered a 4 percent raise over the next three years. Some additional pay increases required approval by employees' supervisors.
The union had rejected the offer as an insult and accused the utility of negotiating in bad faith.
Michael Clendenin, a spokesman for Con Ed, said negotiations "can go either way." The company wants "a settlement that would be fair to our employees and something that would hold down costs for our customers."
"We're not their yet," he said.
Asked if the clock would be pushed back, Clendenin said it's possible.
We are prepared to work as long as it takes to get a settlement, he added.
Clendenin said customers won't notice if workers strike.
If there is a strike the power will continue to flow. Our managers are prepared to keep our electric, gas, and steam running."
Some routine maintenance won't be done and there will be curtailing of meter reading in the event of a strike.
Any emergency or outages that occur we're prepared to respond to," Clendenin said.
Flaherty disagrees with the idea of a strike without an impact to service.
"You think that 9,000 workers can walk off the job and it would have no effect? Does that sound reasonable to you?
-- Matthew Sweeney