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Union values protect UWUA member during Con Ed lockout

Posted on September 21, 2012
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Joseph Lanzone didn't see it coming. After 28 years with Con Edison with no strikes or lockouts, the longtime Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 1-2 member figured his employer and his union would find a way to agree on a new contract with no interruption to his work.

Instead, just after midnight on July 1, 2012, Con Ed locked out its unionized workers, leaving Lanzone and thousands of others without pay-or any idea when they'd be back to work. So as Lanzone prepared for the picket lines, he also made preparations to pay his mortgage with help from Union Plus.

"Suddenly after 28 years I had no work," Lanzone remembers. "No one knew what was going to happen. We were in the dark. That's when my sister called me."

Coincidentally, Lanzone's sister, Rosanne, works for the Union Plus Mortgage Program lender. She reminded Lanzone that he, and other locked out workers with union mortgages, were eligible for Union Plus Mortgage Assistance, which helps members make their mortgage payments.

"I remember hearing about mortgage assistance when we bought the house," says Lanzone, who lives with his wife Cindy and two children in Queens, New York. "It's just that after 28 years I figured I'd never need it."

"But when you're out of work, the bills seem to come in fast," he says. "We were starting to get worried."

It took just one phone call and a quick fax to confirm Lanzone's UWUA membership and the lockout details, and Union Plus did the rest. "In just a couple of days I checked our account online and the mortgage was already paid for the month," he says.

The Lanzones received a one-time $1,000 grant toward their mortgage payment, money that does not need to be paid back. The rest of the mortgage assistance they received was an interest-free loan that can be repaid for as little as $75 a month.

Cindy Lanzone was amazed at the response. "It was like instant relief," she says.

For Lanzone, it was a lesson learned. "You can't take anything for granted. Look at me. I was out of work after 28 years. Strikes happen and lockouts happen, too. It's good to be prepared with Union Plus Mortgage."

Union Plus Mortgage Assistance helps program participants facing financial hardship as a result of involuntary unemployment, disability, strike or lockout pay their monthly mortgage and keep their homes with interest-free loans and grants.

Union members and their families can also save $495 on closing costs when purchasing or refinancing a home. First-time homebuyers can also apply for a $500 first-time homebuyer award.

Over 200,000 union families have used the Union Plus Mortgage Program and over $9 million in Mortgage Assistance has been provided to union families who have encountered economic hardship. 

To learn more about the Union Plus Mortgage Program visit UnionPlus.org/Mortgage.

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