It’s been more than a week since Con Ed locked out its 8,000 union workers and replaced them with 5,000 managers. Since then, we’ve had frequent power outages and reductions during the worst heat wave in years. This is totally unacceptable. Con Ed wants to replace union workers’ guaranteed defined benefit pensions with risky 401(k) plans, which the union fiercely rejects. I don’t blame them. Con Ed’s CEO, Kevin Burke, has an annual pay package of $11 million, plus a guaranteed $18 million pension. Would he replace his pension with a 401(k) plan. I doubt it. In his case, CEO stands for compensation excessively overpaid. New Yorkers have the highest utility rates of any city in the continental United States, and the poorest service. Why isn’t Con Ed prepared for hot weather power demands? Don’t they know that summer comes every year? And why does Con Ed need 5,000 managers to supervise 8,000 workers? That breaks down to one manager for every 1.5 workers, which means its management level is much too top heavy.
If Con Ed cut their management staff and slashed Burke’s compensation, we would have lower rates and better service. But don’t count on that happening. As Abraham Lincoln said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time.” But you can’t con Edison.