Cablevision union battle in Brooklyn rages on
by Andrew Pavia
Feb 13, 2013 | 1746 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Cablevision has larger problems than the size of its bandwidth, as a battle heats up between the cable provider and its Brooklyn workers who were fired, they say because they tried to form a union.

Last year, Brooklyn Cablevision workers tried to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA 1109). Now they are claiming that Cablevision is using them as a scapegoat in order to instill fear to break the union up.

The most recent attempt to frighten the workers in Brooklyn was when 22 union members were fired for refusing to work, according to Tom Dawes, a union organizer with CWA.

“A small number of Brooklyn technicians refused to work after several request to do so,” read a statement from Cablevision. “Therefore, Cablevision took legal and appropriate steps to maintain adequate staffing and ensure its Brooklyn operations are not disrupted. Five of these employees have already been brought back.”

But Dawes said that the workers were baited into being terminated because they were specifically told not to work. According to him, the workers who were fired were told to wait for a meeting and were then terminated because they were not working.

Cablevision disagrees with this statement but would not comment further.

The CWA conducted an in-house study that found Cablevision service in Brooklyn is 25 percent slower than in the Bronx, where the workers are not unionized. This is a finding that Cablevision openly refutes.

He went on to say that it is widely known that Cablevision owner James Dolan has told his workers in the Bronx that the company will leave Brooklyn behind.

On Friday, the provider announced that Brooklyn employees have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to determine if CWA will continue to represent them through a vote by employees.

“Virtually all Cablevision employees have a direct relationship with the company,” read a statement. “Cablevision looks forward to an election at the earliest possible date to allow its Brooklyn employees to determine whether or not the CWA will continue to represent them.”

Dawes responded to the petition and said that it was “a minority of people who had their arms twisted.” He went on to say that an election was held a year ago, which determined that CWA would represent the Brooklyn workers, and he felt that if it came to a vote they would win again.

Dawes further said that the petition is the result of the firing of the 22 union members, something he referred to as a “scare tactic.” He said that he doubted the NLRB would consider looking at the petition given the history of Cablevision's treatment of their workers.

“This company is not afraid to control their workers,” he said.

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