THE BRONX - Local 94 power plant workers have gone on strike in Co-op City as tensions between union and management rise.

Union officials say their jobs will be cut if Riverbay Management Corp. is successful in bringing in cheaper, less-experienced subcontractors. The strike leaves the power plant without licensed workers and replacements pose a threat to the safety of Co-op residents, according to representatives from Local 94.

"The other day they blew one of the safeties on the boiler," says Pedro Rosario, a Local 94 engineer. "That hasn't happened in our 25 years. It happened in two days."

Riverbay officials dispute the union's claims and say the temporary replacements are certified to perform their jobs. Management officials say there were no steam pipe breaks, and the only problems they've dealt with appear to be sabotage.

Riverbay Management Corporation says it wants to continue negotiations with the union.