Negotiations broke down early Sunday between Consolidated Edison and its unionized workers, prompting the immediate dismissal of about 8,000 employees, utility officials said.
“We remain far apart,” said Michael Clendenin, a Con Edison spokesman.
Talks broke down about 1 a.m., officials said. Discussions centered around wages, pension and other benefits.
Clendenin said the system would be run by about 5,000 managers. Customers shouldn’t expect any adverse effects, officials said. About half of the managers have experience on the ground — making repairs and running the power grid.
The contract between the power company and Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America expired at midnight Saturday.
Union spokesman John Melia said the talks had continued “morning, noon and night” for 10 days. Union officials said a possible strike was still on the table.
The labor strife comes in the midst of a brutal stretch of 90-degree days, when the power grid is at its most vulnerable.
The utility serves about 3.2 million customers in Westchester County and New York City.
Con Edison officials said they had asked the union for a two-week extension to negotiate before talks broke down.