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DETROIT EDISON BREAKS OFF NEGOTIATIONS; UNION CONSIDERING OPPOSITION TO UTILITY'S RATE HIKE

 DETROIT EDISON BREAKS OFF NEGOTIATIONS;
 UNION CONSIDERING OPPOSITION TO UTILITY'S RATE HIKE
 DEARBORN, Mich., July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released by Utility Workers Union of America Local 223:
 Detroit Edison (NYSE: DTE) abruptly broke off negotiations with Utility Workers Union of America Local 223 at 11:45 a.m. today despite the union's willingness to continue bargaining until a new contract is reached.
 Currently, the 2,900 members of Local 223 are working under the terms of the old contract, which expired on June 1. Major stumbling blocks remain the company's demand for work rule and health insurance concessions.
 Local 223 President George Manoogian called the decision by Detroit Edison to end negotiations a "major disappointment to the Detroit Edison workers and to all Detroit Edison consumers who depend upon the utility to provide them with a reliable source of power."
 "Detroit Edison is either looking to provoke a strike or is planning to implement their substandard contract upon our membership," Manoogian declared. "As the recent storm that left thousands of Detroit-area residents without electricity demonstrates, summer is not the time for a utility to play games that might weaken their power grid and their ability to service their customers."
 Manoogian and the bargaining committee said that they remain available to meet and negotiate with the company at any time. "We do not feel we have reached impasse, nor do we feel that a company that earned over $500 million in profits last year needs to be demanding health care concessions from the workers that have helped make them so successful."
 He added that the union will meet over the weekend with various consumer and public interest groups to discuss intervention against Detroit Edison's request for a rate increase. Yesterday (Wednesday, July 1) the utility asked the Michigan Public Service Commission for permission to lower its rates by $146 million next year and for a 1994 rate increase of $114 million. "We are looking closely at what the company is asking consumers to pay in the future," said Manoogian. "Our initial research shows that Detroit Edison should be cutting their rates even more next year and that they do not need an increase anywhere near the size they are asking for in 1994."
 -0- 7/2/92
 /CONTACT: George Manoogian, president, 313-846-3040 or (home) 313-433-3483, or Mike Langford, treasurer, 313-846-3040 or (home) 313-243-6511, both of Utility Workers Union of America Local 223/
 (DTE) CO: Detroit Edison Company; Utility Workers Union of America Local 223 ST: Michigan IN: UTI SU:


SM -- DE039 -- 6355 07/02/92 17:10 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 2, 1992
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