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‘When We Go Out, the Lights Go Out’: Workers Locked Out at Con Ed | The Nation

10 Jul

Hundreds of union members have descended on New York power utility Consolidated Edison’s corporate headquarters in Manhattan following the company’s decision to lock out 8,500 of its unionized workers in the midst of contract negotiations. Workers were sent home on July 1 after Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union refused to agree to give seven days’ notice before a strike. Only weeks after the debacle of the Wisconsin recall, and the subsequent consternation among many in the labor movement, it seems these boisterous union members missed the message that labor is on its way out.

About 500 union members, most of them from Local 1-2 but with contingents from SEIU Local 32BJ, CWA Local 1101 and TWU Local 100, among others, have been picketing outside Con Ed’s headquarters each day since the lockout began on July 1. Today, however, that number increased to more than a thousand, as Con Ed canceled healthcare coverage for Local 1-2 members as part of its effort to ramp up pressure on the union. Other pickets have been set up at Con Ed job sites around the region. The contract dispute centers on the fact that Con Ed wants to get rid of defined-benefit pensions and drastically increase union members’ healthcare contributions.

Lockouts have become increasingly common in recent years, as employers have become more and more proactive at trying to force givebacks on union members.

via ‘When We Go Out, the Lights Go Out’: Workers Locked Out at Con Ed | The Nation.