Labor-Environmental Partnership Calls for End of Lockout at Con Edison

Statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director calls for utility to end lockout immediately and concentrate on solving climate change.

July 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC. (July 23, 2012) The BlueGreen Alliance today called for an end to the lockout of 8,500 members of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) at Consolidated Edison Company of New York and for the utility to focus its efforts on reducing emissions that cause climate change instead of cutting workers’ benefits. The lockout began on July 1, when Con Edison refused an offer by 8,500 members of UWUA Local 1-2 to continue negotiating while working without a contract.

The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster:

“We stand in solidarity with the workers of UWUA Local 1-2. They are hard-working people who have been locked out of their jobs unfairly. During one of the hottest summers on record, what is going on at Con Edison is wrong for workers, wrong for consumers and wrong for our environment.

“The environmental community strongly supports the rights of working people to have good, safe jobs with fair wages and benefits because such jobs also protect the environment. Union workers are far better trained than replacement workers; the current situation puts our families, communities and environment at risk.

“The utility industry has a special role in our country today in solving our current environmental and economic crises.  Providing clean, affordable, and reliable energy to New York’s businesses and residential consumers is critical to both economic growth and solving climate change.

“But instead of punishing 8,500 workers and their families by locking them out, this utility should end the lockout immediately, return to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair contract. Instead of concentrating on an ill-conceived strategy of cutting workers’ benefits, Con Ed should focus its efforts on launching bold new energy efficiency programs to save rate payers money and expand their delivery of clean energy in New York to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Con Ed should be a leader in working for a sustainable future for all New Yorkers, starting with its front-line employees.”