As a Spectrum customer, I support the IBEW Local 3 strike against Charter
Communications and its protest last week in Fresh Meadows against using out-of-state contractors.
But the labor dispute took a destructive turn when 60,000 Spectrum subscribers in Queens lost Internet service after vandals cut fiber optic cables.
IBEW leaders deny any union involvement, but news reports said the vandals had an inside knowledge of what to cut for maximum damage.
No matter who's at fault, customers suffered, which doesn't help IBEW's cause. But Charter bears much of the blame for violating its franchise contract with New York City and resisting union demands for better pension and healthcare benefits.
How can Charter refuse them after paying two top executives nearly $200 million in 2016? CEO Thomas Rutledge got a total compensation of $98.5 million, while outgoing Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Macus got a $93 million severance deal after Charter acquired TWC.
Charter is America's second largest cable company, but that's not big enough for Rutledge. He wants to expand his turf by acquiring Cox Communications, the third largest cable provider.
Before this happens, New York City's Law Department and the state's Public Service Commission must stop Spectrum's use of out-of-state contractors and demand a fair settlement with striking workers.
Kew Gardens Hills