Con Ed reaches tentative agreement

Agreement reportedly reached at 5 a.m. this morning
July 2, 2008 5:37:17 AM PDT
A tentative agreement was reached this morning between Con Edison and workers after "extremely contentious" contract talks, a spokesman for the union said. The utility and union said they reached the deal at around 5 a.m. this morning.

Eyewitness News is told they are going over the final details and expect the paperwork to be signed shortly.

One major point of contention was the company's proposal to switch from traditional pensions to a 401(K)-style plan for new employees, said Joe Flaherty, spokesman for the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2.

"I think they fully understood that this union and its members would not stand for a change in their long traditional pension," Flaherty said. The union represents about two-thirds of Con Edison's 14,000 employees.

Once Con Edison took the pension proposal off the table, negotiations eased, according said Flaherty.

Negotiations resumed Tuesday morning in Manhattan after they were suspended over the weekend when Gov. David Paterson intervened and suggested both sides take a cooling off period.

The union had threatened to walk off the job early Sunday if an agreement wasn't reached but Paterson, expressing concerning about the potential impact a strike would have on customers during hot weather, stepped in late Saturday.

Union of America Local 1-2, which represents about two-thirds of Con Edison's 14,000 employees.

Most of the union's workers maintain the utility's gas, electric and steam delivery systems for some three million customers in most of New York City and Westchester County.

WEB PRODUCED BY: Lakisha Bostick