Thousands of Con Edison workers could be walking off the job this weekend, since contract negotiations did not improve Thursday.
Union officials from Local 1-2 said Thursday that they have not made any progress in talks with the utility, and say both sides remain “miles apart.”
A spokesperson says the utility won’t budge on wages and medical costs. They are also disputing a proposal that workers who retire while on workers’ compensation have to repay benefits from their pensions.
“We submitted to Con Edison an economic proposal. It’s eight days later and we have yet to receive an answer, which is absolutely incredulous,” said Local 1-2 spokesman Joe Flaherty. “It seems to us that they want to force a labor dispute. They want to force the union to strike.”
Union President Harry Farrell says the union voted last week to authorize a strike beginning Sunday, and he charges that Con Ed would be ill-equipped to handle it.
Local 1-2 represents 9,000 electric, gas and steam workers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Westchester.
Con Ed says it looks forward to productive discussions with union leadership, but that its managers are prepared to handle a strike.
The last time Con Ed workers walked off the job was 1983, when a strike lasted for more than two months.