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Why I'm Marching Across the Brooklyn Bridge

The 6-month strike against Spectrum has gone on long enough and all eyes will be on New York

Kris LaGrange's picture
Sep 15, 2017
I've marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to make a statement a few times already. The first was back in 2005 when the President of TWU Local 100 willingly broke New York's immoral Taylor Law and took the public transit union out on strike, a week before Christmas. He was thrown in jail like a common criminal, but nothing we did that day was common. Thousands of us had his back as he turned himself in. I will never forget that day, it had a major impact on me.
The second time was in 2011 we joined the Communications Workers of America who marched as a show of strength and solidarity in their contract battle with Verizon. Inevitably a few months later, Verizon forced its workforce out on strike for 2 weeks. That work stoppage gained national headlines and the march was a good exercise for the fight to come.

This Monday, September 18th, I will be marching across that iconic bridge again. In what has been labeled a "Media Blackout," 1,800 telecom pros at Spectrum have forced its workers out on strike. It's not just over wages and benefit contributions, this fight is really over the theory and concept of what I do for a living - which is advocating for collective bargaining, the right to have a voice at work and retire in dignity. Yes, IBEW Local 3 has a lot of members, 28,000 to be exact - but what Spectrum is doing is testing all unions - a test that many have failed at in Wisconsin, Michigan and the entire Right-to-Work footprint. Spectrum believes it can bust up the union by not bargaining, by ignoring government regulation, by bringing in replacement workers while rewarding this behavior with an executive compensation package that would make the devil himself jealous. What is happening in the Big Apple shouldn't be happening at all in New York; a diverse union city in a state with the highest union density in the nation. What Spectrum is doing is a big f*ck you to unionist everywhere.

I am mad at what's happening. The strikers are not fat lazy people -they are good people and don't deserve the situation they are in. At the march, they will be in orange, so show your love and thank them for their sacrifice. The nation is a mess now, I know - when will it all stop? I don't know, I don't have the answers and neither does their leader Chris Erikson of IBEW Local 3. But what we do know is that tough times don't last, but tough guys do. Erikson, in an exclusive UCOMM video interview, is asking everyone to come out because they can't-do this alone. Our nation's largest, strongest and most influential local union is asking us for help.

Think about that...see ya in Brooklyn.

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