Unions rally in support of Con Ed workers

July 17, 2012 6:34:00 PM PDT
Locked-out Consolidated Edison workers and other union members pledged to stand together at a Manhattan rally in support of the utility employees.

Tuesday's loud, boisterous rally was held in Union Square in the midst another heat wave blanketing New York City. Joining the members of Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 were members of the Transport Workers Union, the United Federation of Teachers, and others who threw their support to the utility workers.

"Your fight is our fight," said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

"This struggle isn't just about Con Ed workers, it's about all of us," he told the cheering crowd.

The Con Ed workers were locked out on June 30 after their contract expired and negotiations over a new one failed. About 5,000 managers are keeping electricity going for 3.2 million customers in New York City and Westchester County. Talks between the utility and its largest union resumed on Monday.

Neither Con Ed nor the union has indicated any real progress.

Union spokesman John Melia says the company "bowed to public pressure" in reinstating health insurance for the 8,500 locked-out workers. Workers are covered for July, retroactively.

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