New York, NY – This week, telecom giant Charter Communications announced it is looking for journalism’s “best and brightest” to join the ranks of Spectrum News in NYC — we here at LaborPress.org have some advice for our correspondent comrades looking for a new gig: don’t take the job unless you plan on shining a light on the 22-month-old IBEW Local 3 strike.
Lord knows, in the field of American journalism, it’s often easier bagging a leprechaun than landing a decent job that pays well enough to support a family and secure a dignified retirement.
But maintaining good paying jobs with decent benefits constitutes the core of Local IBEW Local 3’s nearly two-year-old strike against Charter Communications.
On March 28, 2017 roughly 1,800 Local 3 techs walked off the job after Charter Communications — recent successors to Time-Warner Cable — tried to scrap union health and pension packages.
Not long after the strike began, LaborPress heard from Local 3 members who recounted a chief bargaining agent for Charter telling them, “I swear on my mother’s grave, you’re never getting your union benefits back.”
Nearly two years later, IBEW Local 3’s strike remains unsettled. Many workers have never crossed the picket line and gone back to the job. They have, instead, struggled to keep their families whole and their standard of living intact, all while the heads of Charter Communications rake in tens of millions in personal compensation packages.
Also, over the last 22 months the strike has been allowed to persist, Charter Communication quietly settled a record $174.2 million lawsuit brought by the New York State Attorney General’s Office alleging consumer fraud. The Public Service Commission rescinded its initial support of Charter’s takeover of Time-Warner Cable and ordered them to start planning their exit from the Empire State. And New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications found Charter in default of its Franchise Agreement with the city — in not one, but two separate audits.
Throughout all this, striking workers insist that a vast corporate media blackout has also persisted, and served to keep the punishing standoff with Charter Communications under the radar of most New Yorkers. Efforts to decertify the union, strikers also insist, are coming from the corporation itself.
Something to think about when you’re sending over that resume to Spectrum HQ. The 99% can no longer afford to keep their heads down and “look out for number one.” Everywhere you look, the relentless race to the bottom is busy grinding working men and women into mincemeat. And it’ll grind you up, too. No matter how cushy your new job might seem today.
If we, as journalists, wanted to cash in on our communications degrees, we’d have gone into Propaganda…err, Public Relations. That’s always an option. But if you’re going to do the news, than do the news.
People are relying on you.