THE BRONX - Con Edison union protests are continuing following the rejection of a new contract offer.

The utility and its workers are trying to reach an agreement on a new multi-year contract, but employees rejected a contract offer, effectively keeping about 8,000 union members on the picket line for more than a week.

Officials say the latest offer included a 10-percent wage increase for the next four years and maintained current pensions for all employees hired before July of this year. The union argues that huge hikes in employee health care payments will wipe out any wage improvements.

About 5,000 managers and out-of-state workers have temporarily replaced the union members in order to keep service going.