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Con Ed Ends Lockout Ahead of Severe Thunderstorm

By  Jill Colvin and Julie  Shapiro | July 26, 2012 2:01pm 

CITY HALL — Con Ed and its unionized workers have reached a deal, ending a nearly month-long lockout as a severe thunderstorm barrels toward New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement at a press conference Thursday afternoon, hours after he announced that workers would be allowed to temporarily return to their posts to prepare for the storm.

"It is just good news, all across the board," Cuomo said. "It's a good contract, it's a good agreement.... Sometimes, a storm has a silver lining. I think this storm actually had a silver lining to bring these parties together…and come to this resolution."

Officials did not immediately reveal the terms of the new four-year contract, which is still pending approval by Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America's executive board and membership.

"They're going to have to accept this or reject it," said Harry Farrell, Local 1-2's president. "We're hoping for a fast ratification."

Union employees are expected to report to work for a 4 p.m. to midnight shift “in order to assist with potential power restoration resulting from approaching storms,” Con Ed said in a statement earlier in the day.

“We applaud the Governor’s support and leadership for doing what’s in the best interests of all New Yorkers,” the utility said.

The deal was reached hours before the New York City area was expected to be socked by severe thunderstorms that some warned could spawn tornado warnings.

The National Weather Service is predicting wind gusts of up to 40 mph, which could result in power outages across the city.

City officials had been urging the utility to allow employees back to work as the city had broiled in intense heat.

With reporting by Chelsia Rose Marcius