September 26, 2013
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – After more than a year of an anti-union crusade by Cablevision-Optimum – culminating in the illegal lock out and firing of 22 of its unionized Brooklyn workers – the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and civil rights leaders have slammed the NBA for rewarding MSG, which is also owned by James Dolan, with the 2015 All-Star Game. The groups promised to leaflet the All-Star Game in 2015 if the labor dispute is not resolved by then.
“Cablevision-Optimum continues to show an utter disregard for Brooklyn, New York City and the working people who make this city great,” said Chris Shelton, Vice President of CWA District 1. “There is no way the owner of a company that violates federal labor laws, workers’ civil rights, and the values of our city should be rewarded with the NBA All-Star Game, particularly when we have a great, new arena in Brooklyn.”
The National Labor Relations Board is currently conducting a hearing into charges the Cablevision and CEO Dolan intimidated and spyed on workers, illegally fired 22 workers and bargained in bad faith.
In addition to his Cablevision-Optimum franchise agreement, owner James Dolan receives significant economic benefits from the City of New York. As the owner of Madison Square Garden, he receives an exemption from paying any property taxes, costing the City millions of dollars per year and $300 million as of 2008.
Since nearly 300 Brooklyn technicians voted to become the first union workers at Cablevision-Optimum in January 2012, the company has refused to offer the workers a just contract, choosing to spend far more on executive compensation and union-busting attorneys than it would take to settle a fair contract. Despite more than a year of bargaining, management still refuses to sign off on even the most basic elements of a typical collective bargaining agreement.