Local 3 IBEW Relaunches Spectrum Boycott
The union is being joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo, as they try to end the nearly 2 year strike
Labor leaders and elected officials in New York are accusing Charter/Spectrum of union busting after they walked away from negotiations with Local 3 IBEW, who have been on strike since March of 2017. Read more from the NY Daily News below.
Gov. Cuomo and state labor leaders are accusing Charter/Spectrum cable of “union-busting” activities and are set to unleash Monday a campaign seeking new boycotts against the company, the Daily News has learned.
Negotiations between Spectrum and IBEW Local 3, which has been out on strike for more than a year, had heated up in recent weeks, a source with knowledge of the situation said.
The source said that despite progress being made, Spectrum walked away from the talks on Friday, leading to charges that the company was engaging in union busting activities — something the company vehemently denies.
Cuomo, state AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, and Hotel and Motel Trades Council President Peter Ward, who had been working with both sides to mediate an end to the labor dispute, began strategizing this past weekend about “an all hands on deck multi-prong campaign” that will involve the governor as well as public and private-sector unions to strike back at Spectrum, the source said.
On Monday, IBEW Local 3, which has had 1,800 workers out on strike for more than a year, will re-institute its picket lines outside of Spectrum offices.
On Wednesday, Cuomo and labor leaders from around the state will join the picket line and union officials will reestablish their call for elected officials to boycott Spectrum-owned channels like NY1 while seeking to expand it to advertisers, consultants and lobbyists, the source said.
Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and other officials stopped appearing on NY1 several months ago in support of the striking workers. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand refused to debate on the channel. But as negotiations heated up, the boycott was eased.
Meanwhile, a statewide digital campaign targeting Charter/Spectrum customers is set to be launched Thursday, the source said. The campaign, the source said, will seek to “educate (customers) on Charter's union-busting practices and inform them of service alternatives in their area.”
“It's time to hit them in the only place they understand — their pocketbook" the source said.
Citing the recent Janus U.S. Supreme Court ruling that non-union public workers cannot be forced to pay union dues, Cuomo top aide Melissa DeRosa said it’s important New York continue to protect the labor movement.
"With the federal government trying to destroy the union movement through actions like Janus, its no surprise that private corporations are emboldened to put their own bottom line above the welfare of their workers. But the governor was clear: working men and women will not be treated this way in the State of New York. Not now, not ever,” DeRosa said.
Cilento accused Spectrum of pulling the plug Friday on good faith negotiations with the union. He called it an “absolute disgrace” and said that every time there is progress, Charter “keeps moving the goalpost.”
“The labor movement is fed up,” Cilento said. “They’re playing with people’s lives here. I guarantee you the labor movement will not let up in this fight.”
Insisting the company has been negotiating in good faith for over 20 months, Charter spokesman John Bonomo said “we are incredibly disappointed that despite our best efforts and numerous offers, the union continues to block an agreement.”
“Charter has offered significant concessions to end the strike including addressing the union's two biggest concerns, bringing many strikers back and making payments into the union's benefits plan,” Bonomo said. “Nevertheless, we remain committed to investing in our first-class workforce and delivering superior products and service to our customers.”
The Charter Spectrum strike came up during a recent dinner Cuomo organized with union leaders to thank them for their efforts in the recent New York elections that resulted in his re-election, the Democrats grabbing control of the state Senate, and the flipping of three Republican House seats to the Democrats to talk about how to move forward in a unified fashion.
At the dinner, the governor is said to have urged the labor unions to unite behind IBEW.