Friday, July 13, 2012

Con Ed gives $250K to biz group, locks out workers

Oh, very, very nice. By way of our friends at American Rights at Work, we learn that Con Ed gave $250,000 to a pro-business group last year. Now it's poor mouthing as it locks out 8,500 workers.

But it isn't the size of the gift that matters -- it's who it influences. Reports Crains' New York Business:
...good-government groups expressed concerns that the utility giant gave $250,000 last year to the Committee to Save New York, a pro-business group set up at the urging of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 
...the donation has raised questions from organized labor and good-government groups because the governor appoints board members of the state Public Service Commission, which regulates Con Ed. The commission is reviewing a request by Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America to force Con Ed to end its lockout of 8,500 workers. 
Also, one of Mr. Cuomo's top advisers, Michael Del Giudice, has been a member of Con Ed's board since 1999. 
Mr. Cuomo, who has received political support in the past from both sides of the labor dispute, has not taken sides in the lockout, which is now in its 12th day, and has not personally made any public statements. 
"There's nothing illegal about this, but it is absolutely the problem with these newly formed committees that don't actually have to reveal their donors," said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause, a nonprofit that promotes open government. "It's clear that business sees this as a way to get closer to the centers of power, and it's one of the problems we have with large amounts of money sloshing around in our political system."
Meanwhile, Reuters reports the locked-out workers asked the utility commission to end the lockout.

Stay tuned.