Con Edison Workers Threaten Strike As Temps Soar

Day two of our heatwave comes with an extra threat: a Con Edison workers' strike.  Because the only thing worse than facing a blackout is facing a blackout with no one around to fix it.

"That would be typical right?  That's the way it goes, right in the middle of a heat wave," said Frank Morris with his daughter's new air conditioner unit perched on a hand cart as he crossed 30th Avenue in Astoria. 

Carl Todd from Flatbush chimed in, "I would be ticked off," in response to a query about his feelings over the timing of this possible strike.

The union that represents the 8,500 workers negotiating with Con Edison, Local 1-2, says it's about wages, health care, pension.  The usual.  And the workers gripe that Con Edison's president pulled in $11 million last year.  So you can see where they're coming from.

But it's the ratepayers, people who cut a check every month for electricity that get caught in the middle.  Mike Clendenin of Con Edison says they're all working hard to find a solution, but recents blackouts, combined with knowing these union workers walked off the job for nine weeks to make a point in 1983, makes the whole thing a little tense. 

Clendenin also insists management will step up if the lights go down.  Saying half of their 5,000 non-unionized workers came up from the ranks, and know their way around splicing a cable. 

But feeling like this is a classic New York power play, ratepayers are considering their options.  In 1996, the state deregulated electricity, meaning you can choose from a few different companies.  Care to send a message to Con Ed about it's down to the wire shenanigans?  Then thumb your nose at them, check out its competition on line.  You still have to pay Con Ed for the "delivery" of the juice, but it'll let you vote with your feet.