February 17, 2015
New York, NY – It’s taken three years to do it, but Brooklyn Cablevision workers fighting a fierce battle with media mogul James Dolan, have finally won jobs security and better wages and benefits for 262 unionized employees.
Brooklyn Cablevision technicians first rocked Dolan’s world back in January, 2012, when they brazenly voted to join the Communications Workers of America [CWA], becoming the first group of workers in the mighty Cablevision universe to unionize.
Cablevision immediately responded by stonewalling negotiations and suddenly firing 22 workers who sought a meeting with management to talk about the standstill.
In 2013, axed Cablevision worker Clarence Adams told LaborPress that he and the rest of the “Cablevison 22” were completed blindsided by the sudden terminations.
“They never said that anything like that was going to happen,” Adams said. “I never had the suspicion that this was going to happen.”
Community pressure ultimately led to the workers’ reinstatement about two months later.
CWA National Vice-President Chris Shelton called the newly ratified deal between Cablevision and Brooklyn workers a “historic achievement.”
“Our members stuck together for three years, and in the end, persuaded Cablevision that a fair deal acceptable to management and labor was possible,” Shelton said in a statement.
Cablevision spent millions of dollars attempting to crush the union effort, at one point, canning the aforementioned employees, and granting long sought pay wages to workers outside of Brooklyn in an attempt to make their union look bad.
In addition to an enhanced pay and benefits package, Brooklyn Cablevision workers have now also won the right to establish a union bulletin board inside company garages throughout the borough.
“This agreement begins a new chapter in the Cablevision—CWA relationship,” CWA Local 1109 President Tony Spina said in a statement following this week’s contract agreement.
At a rally in support of Brooklyn Cablevision workers held last year, Reverend Al Sharpton declared, “The beggin’ days are over.”
The fight was tough, however, and this week, union organizer Rey Meyers conceded in a statement that “Many workers had given up hope [of winning a contract].”
“But we stuck together through thick and thin, and we’ve won a contract that gives us the biggest raises we’ve ever gotten, and even more important, out dignity on the job,” Meyers said.
The two-year deal reached this week begins March 1, and brings 96-percent pay parity to lesser compensated Brooklyn Cablevision workers.
Two years ago, then mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio was so POed at Cablevision and its deep-pocketed CEO, that he urged the NBA to skip holding the 2015 All-Star Game at the Dolan’s Madison Square Garden as planned — and instead hold the star-studded event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.