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Lock out of New York utility workers ends

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30 July, 2012UWUA reached a tentative contract settlement with Consolidated Edison on Thursday 26 July ending a month-long lockout and a return to work for all 8,500 utility workers in New York.

The breakthrough in negotiations occurred after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo personally intervened, requesting that the parties meet in his office in New York City.

The Governor remained at the bargaining table while the Utility Workers’ Union of America (UWUA) National President Michael Langford, UWUA Local 1-2 President Harry Farrell, and Con Ed CEO Kevin Burke negotiated for five hours to reach the tentative agreement.

The proposed four year contract will be submitted to a vote of the union membership for ratification. A summary of the agreement has been published on the UWUA Local 1-2 website here: http://uwua1-2.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/CLICK-HERE-to-read-the-detailed-summary-of-the-contract-agreement.pdf

Harry J. Farrell, President of Local 1-2 of the UWUA, said on 26 July, " After nearly a month of the largest lockout of workers in U.S. labor history by a private corporation, I would like to thank New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for his presence of mind and leadership in helping Con Edison to find a way to deliver to my members a contract that is a fair, equitable and decent return on the fruits of our labor.”

Utility company Con Edison imposed the lockout as part of its scheme to extract huge bargaining concessions from utility workers. The concessions included demands to eliminate the existing retirement plan for new employees and impose additional healthcare costs on all workers. The utility giant has made these demands despite posting $US1.1 billion in net profits last year.

Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, congratulated the union and said, “By being united and standing strong the UWUA and its 8,500 members at Con Ed have fought for a fair deal for workers. IndustriALL Global Union and many of its affiliates sent letters of solidarity to the locked out workers and now we congratulate them on reaching a tentative agreement.”