New York, NY – Telecom giant Charter/Spectrum may have vowed to spend years challenging the Public Service Commission’s revocation of its 2016 merger with Time-Warner Cable — but the corporation’s chances of successfully renewing its Franchise Agreement with the City of New York in 2020 just might be zip.
“They don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell in having that renewed,” NYC Council Member I. Daneek Mill [D-27th District], chair of the Committee On Civil Service & Labor, told LaborPress this week. “There’s no space for a company that undermines workers, that deceives workers.”
Roughly 1,800 workers went on strike back on March 28, 2017 after Charter/Spectrum bosses threatened collectively bargained pension and healthcare plans. Many of those IBEW Local 3 members continue to hold the picket line almost a year-and-a-half later despite tremendous pressures and hardships.
Strikers insist that Charter/Spectrum bosses were intent on busting the union and never interested in bargaining in good faith.
The Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications [DoITT] has already issued a notice of default against the number two Cable TV provider in the nation after finding it engaged in unfair labor practice in suspending four IBEW Local 3 members participating in a work stoppage on Paige Avenue in Brooklyn back on April 2, 2014.
Additional default findings could be forthcoming following the completion of DoITT’s latest audit.
Council Member Miller — a former bus driver — estimates that some 200 of the original 1,800 Local 3 strikers and their families live within his district in Queens.
“It is an absolute travesty that every other commercial is a Spectrum commercial to perpetuate this fallacy of how great they are,” he said. “It’s not just the City that should not be doing business with them — it’s the people in the city who should not support people who do not support working families.”
One group of striking IBEW Local 3 members — led by 20-year-survey tech Troy Walcott — have introduced a plan to succeed Charter/Spectrum with a new worker cooperative.
“There’s a real possibility that could happen,” Council Member Miller said. “If there was a possibility, certainly, I would be supportive. I would support investing in working people in a heartbeat.”
Some 30 other members of the New York City Council are either calling on the City of New York to revoke its existing Franchise Agreement with Charter/Spectrum, or quit doing business with the telecom giant in the future.
DoITT is now soliciting public comments on the future of Charter/Spectrum’s continued operations in New York City. Those interested in commenting should click this link. Members of the public are invited to comment on Charter/Spectrum’s Franchise Agreement, as well as Franchise Agreements involving the other two telecom giants operating in the city — Verizon and Altice.
If Charter/Spectrum does fail to have its Franchise Agreement with the City of New York renewed in 2020, it’ll be the first time a franchisee was effectively revoked. Cable franchisees bring in serious money for the City of New York. In 2015, the city raked in about $136 million in franchise fees.
Charter/Spectrum has not yet responded to requests for comment.