Utility, union talks collapse amid wave of hot weather

Consolidated Edison closed walk-in centers, suspended meter readings and limited work on major construction projects in New York on Sunday after contract talks between the utility and its unionized workers broke down in the middle of a wave of extremely hot weather.

Talks stopped just before 2 a.m. Sunday, a couple of hours after the existing contract expired. The impasse came as New York braced for more high temperatures that will increase demand for air conditioning among the utility’s 3.2 million customers.

Temperatures were in the 90s Sunday and were expected to be in the high 80s and lower 90s in coming days.

The 8,500 unionized workers told the company they’d be willing to work without a contract to keep the power company running, said John Melia, spokesman for Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America.

Con Ed said it had wanted a two-week extension of the current contract while negotiations continued, with assurance that the union would not strike without notice. The company said if the union agreed to the extension, employees would be welcomed back.

Negotiations lasted just over 10 days over a range of issues, including pensions, heath care and wages.

Melia said the sides had been talking when the company demanded the union sign the contract extension, and that Con Ed locked workers out when the union said it preferred to keep talking and keep workers at the jobs without a contract in the interim.


Teens from fire-ravaged town killed in head-on collision

Three Boy Scouts and their Scout leader were killed in a head-on collision Saturday while driving back to Colorado from a camp in Wyoming.

Five people died when a vehicle returning to Colorado from a Boy Scout camp in Wyoming slammed into a motor home, authorities said Sunday.

Among the victims were three teenage Scouts and their adult troop leader, all from Woodland Park, a town ravaged in recent weeks by wildfires, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. A 3-year-old passenger in the motor home also died, the Wyoming Highway Patrol said.

KABUL, Afghanistan

Three foreign troops killed; total dead this year at 215

A man in an Afghan police uniform Sunday shot and killed three foreign troops in southern Afghanistan, the U.S.-led coalition said in a statement.

It did not offer any other details, including the nationalities of the three. The statement said that the incident was under investigation.

Their deaths bring to 215 the number of foreign troops killed so far this year.

Earlier, Afghan police said a roadside bomb killed five Afghan civilians in the eastern province of Ghazni.

Deputy provincial police chief Maj. Mohammad Hussain said a bus full of people struck the explosives Sunday morning near Ghazni city.


Police: Church attacks leave 15 dead and 40 wounded

Gunmen killed two policemen guarding a church, snatched their rifles and then opened fire on the congregation from inside and out Sunday, killing 15 people and wounding 40, security officials said.

Two gunmen entered the church in the city of Garissa around 10:15 a.m. Sunday, while two others waited outside, police commander Philip Ndolo said. When the congregation fled the attack inside, they ran straight into another hail of bullets from gunmen outside, he said. At least one grenade was detonated in the attack.

The bloodiest of the two attacks came against the African Inland Church in Garissa, a city some 120 miles west of the Somali border. Ndolo said 15 people were killed.

Ndolo told reporters he wanted an investigation carried out before assigning blame to the group many people in this region assume is at fault: al-Shabab, the most dangerous militant group in Somalia.to media.

— From news service reports