Get The Facts

1 Cablevision Illegally Locked Out and Fired 22 Workers
On January 30th, Cablevision employees sought to take advantage of the company’s “open door” policy to spend a few minutes discussing their grievances with one of their managers – protected activity under federal law. Instead of meeting with the workers, and without any warning or instruction to return to work, Cablevision illegally informed 22 workers that they had been “permanently replaced”—a term usually applied to workers who are on strike. Given that all of the workers clearly stated that they were ready and willing to begin work, and that several of the fired workers were already in the field on their routes and had to be called back to work to be told they were “permanently replaced,” it’s clear they were not on strike.
2 (Illegal) Raises for Everyone except Brooklyn
Shortly after Brooklyn workers voted for CWA, workers at the company’s Bronx garage started organizing. To thwart the campaign, management granted every Cablevision technician—except those in Brooklyn—raises of between $2 and $9 per hour. The message was clear – workers that chose the union would be penalized. CWA has filed charges at the National Labor Relations Board, saying that these raises, and other anti-union tactics (which led to the defeat of the drive in June) were illegal, because they deprived the Bronx workers of their right to determine if they wanted to join CWA free from discrimination or intimidation.
3 Cablevision is Leaving Brooklyn Consumers Behind
To intimidate workers from joining the union, Cablevision CEO James Dolan also told Bronx workers that because of their vote for CWA, Brooklyn would be left behind for new technology and investment. Not surprisingly, when CWA tested internet speeds on Cablevision’s system, Brooklyn Cablevision internet speeds were approximately 25% slower than Bronx internet speeds. Complaints about poor service and slow speeds are rampant among Brooklyn customers.
4 “Bad Faith Bargaining” and Stonewalling Basic Provisions of a Union Contract
CWA has filed charges at the NLRB accusing management of “bad faith bargaining” by negotiating without any actual intent of reaching an agreement. Despite a year of bargaining, management still refuses to sign off on even the most basic elements of a typical collective bargaining agreement:
• Cablevision wants to limit union recognition to the existing Brooklyn garages. If they close those garages and re-open across the street, workers would lose their union protection.
• Cablevision wants the flexibility to contract out the entire workforce, thereby eliminating all job security.
• Cablevision refuses to agree to the “Just Cause” standard for discipline and discharge. Instead, Cablevision wants the flexibility to base grievance and arbitration on an unheard of “proper cause” standard. Under that standard, if an arbitrator finds a worker was wrongfully fired, but management shows a “good faith belief at the time” that the person deserved to be fired, the firing would stand.
• Cablevision insists on an “open shop” provision identical to what exists in “right-to-work (for less)” states, reducing the power of workers who join the union, and creating an incentive for “free riders” to opt
out, undercutting the union over time.
5 No Discussion of Wages and Benefits
The Company’s total intransigence on basic union and worker protections has blocked any meaningful discussion of wages and health benefits, leaving Brooklyn workers behind other technicians..
6 After Weeks of Pressure, Cablevision Rehires the 22 workers.
After pressure from elected officials and CWA allies, on Wednesday, February 6th, Cablevision called 5 of the 22 workers back to work. These particular workers were among many workers who tried to meet with managers under the “open door” policy, and then left the garage to begin their routes. In order to get these five workers back to the garage to illegally fire them, management called them back from their routes, and then told them they were “permanently replaced” (Cablevision falsely claims to media and elected officials that it only fired workers who refused to work. In fact, none of the 22 workers were refusing to work and none were told to begin work.) Last week the final worker was called back to work.
7 Cablevision Has Spent More on Union-Busting Attorneys (and way more on CEO
Compensation) than it would Cost to Settle the Contract.
Cablevision has used 3 different law firms and multiple lawyers during the Brooklyn and Bronx organizing drives and subsequent “bad faith” bargaining. Their current lead negotiator charges $1,000 an hour and they’ve spent millions trying to block the union and avoiding an agreement on a fair contract. And in 2011, Cablevision CEO James Dolan’s compensation was $11.45 million, nearly as much as the total compensation for all of the 282 workers’ pay and benefits combined. Total compensation for just the top six executives over the last five years added up to $346.4 million dollars—an average of $57.7 million apiece.