October 15, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—Jerome Thompson was a Cablevision employee for 11 years before he was fired in late August because he reportedly used the word “slavery” during a meeting to describe the poor treatment of Cablevision technicians. At City Hall on Tuesday afternoon, supported by elected officials, he said he wants his job back.
During the press conference, Thompson described what happened at the meeting.
“On August 6 I was invited to a Cablevision branding meeting and they started off the meeting with two images—one image of a colonial ship and the other a pirate ship with a flag. At the end of the presentation, I said it’s ironic that you started off the meeting with those two ships [with] a third ship out in the ocean that was a slave ship. Chattel slavery was the biggest stain on the American brand; so I raised the point do they want the same stain on the Cablevision brand where they don’t want to bargain with the Cablevision workers,” said Thompson.
Two weeks later he was fired.
“I was shocked; I’ve been fighting for my job ever since.”
In the accompanying video interview, we asked Thompson about the placards his colleagues were holding that equated Cablevision’s tactics to prevent a union contract with the Communications Workers of America at its Brooklyn facilities as a reign of terror.
“It’s interesting you mention the word ‘revolution.’ In January 2012 Brooklyn workers made a conscience decision to unionize. A few months after we voted [for the] union, that was the first time I got fired. And then in January 2013 I got fired again. It’s been a reign of terror ever since,” said Thompson.
We then asked him about using the word “slavery” to describe how Cablevision workers are being treated, for which he was fired.
“The reason they’re saying I was fired because I was being disruptive. They created a laundry list on me to get me outta there because I was effective in inspiring people to stand up to management. They scrutinized every move I made. So I had to be a perfect employee going to work everyday. They had to come up with something to get me out the door,” said Thompson.
He asked that our nationwide audience go to the Working Families website, http://bit.ly/1u1OUGC, to sign a petition demanding that Cablevision rehire him.