FILE- In this July 24, 2006 file photo, a Consolidated Edison crew checks a service box in the Queens borough of New York as they work to restore power during the eighth day of the blackout in the area. Consolidated Edison and its unionized workers are facing a midnight, July 1, 2012, deadline as their contract negotiations continue. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg, File)
NEW YORK (AP) — Contract negotiations between Consolidated Edison and its unionized workers broke down early Sunday, prompting the dismissal of about 8,500 workers, utility officials said. Managers were being brought in to run the utility.
"We feel this is very unfortunate. Both sides are very far part," Con Ed spokesman Michael Clendenin said.
There were a range of issues discussed from pensions to heath care and wages.
Union spokesman John Melia says negotiations between the power company and Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America lasted just over 10 days. The contract expired at midnight Saturday, but talks continued early Sunday.
They were suspended just before 2 a.m. with a possible strike still on the table.
Clendenin said the company was calling in 5,000 managers, some of them immediately, to run the utility because it couldn't run the risk of a strike by the unionized workers. He said company officials had asked the union for a two-week extension to negotiate before talks broke down.
The negotiations occurred as New York braced for more hot weather, and caused worry that people would be unable to use power for air conditioning, but utility officials said those fears are unfounded.
The utility serves about 3.2 million customers in Westchester County and New York City.