Con Ed offered a two-week contract extension to continue negotiations, but made it contingent on the union giving seven days notice of a strike; the union rejected that, with a spokesman saying "How does one give up the only leverage a union has?" The union, though, says it offered to continue working without a contract while negotiations continued, only to be locked out. Lockouts, remember, are an offensive move companies undertake to proactively weaken union contracts, and lockouts are becoming more common as strikes become less common. In this case, Con Ed's decision to lock out workers potentially creates hazards for New Yorkers:
"Con Ed must end its lockout and allow the workers to return to their jobs while the new contract is negotiated," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement Monday.Union workers are picketing outside the utility's headquarters; negotiations are slated to resume Thursday.
"When the power goes out and air conditioning and lights go off, it is often the most vulnerable such as the elderly and chronically ill that suffer with often serious consequences," the speaker said.