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    (07/11/12) VALHALLA - Locked out Con Ed employees got a helping hand from a local politician today.

    State Sen. Greg Ball (R-40th district) joined workers on the picket line today and also literally brought some beef to the protest. Ball provided a barbecue lunch to help feed the workers.

    Flanked by the protesters, Ball says Con Ed can afford to keep the terms of the last contract. “We’re talking about a multibillion-dollar company. A billion dollars in profits. All these folks are asking for is the same contract and basic fairness,” says Ball.

    Yesterday, Con Ed officials presented the union with a new offer. The new proposal includes a 10 percent wage increase over the next four years. Also, all employees hired before July 1 of this year would get to keep their current pension formula. Employees hired after July 1 would use a cash balance pension formula. And health care contributions would stay at 17 percent for the first year of the contract and grow to 24 percent by the fourth year.

    Union officials are expected to submit a counteroffer as talks resumed at a hotel in Queens this afternoon. (ARTICLE)