Richard Drew, Associated Press
NEW YORK — Just like the weather, the contract dispute between Consolidated Edison Inc. and the union for 8,500 of its employees is heating up.
Negotiations resumed Friday morning after a 9-hour session the day before. Both sides said they were willing to work over the weekend if necessary to put an end to the dispute.
Con Edison, which has more than 3 million customers in New York and Westchester County, declined to characterize the talks.
However, John Melia, the spokesman for the Utility Workers Local 1-2, said the situation was increasingly grim. While union members strive to remain "always optimistic," he said it is clear the utility is locking the union out.
Two City Council members, Letitia James of Brooklyn and Melissa Mark-Vivertio of Harlem, came out to support a crowd of about 100 people who picketed in front of Con Edison's Manhattan headquarters, near Union Square.
"This company is trying to break the backs of its workers," James said.
"This is a state-regulated company. The governor needs to be involved," Mark-Vivertio said.
The office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it continues to monitor the situation closely.
The weather forecast added to the rising pressure to get the situation resolved; heat waves tend to put a strain on electrical systems. The National Weather Service predicted the temperature could hit 100 degrees on Saturday.
Con Edison has been using managers in the field. Spokesman Michael Clendenin said the utility is ready to respond to any emergencies, and added that there have been few customer complaints.
"There are 5,000 managers ready to respond to any emergencies," he said.
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