NY City Council May Pull Spectrum Agreement Over Strike
Striking Local 3 members and politicians push for Spectrum to negotiate or lose their agreement
Union workers at Spectrum Communications in New York City have been on strike for the past 16 months fighting for better wages, benefits and the protection of their retirement plans. With the company refusing to budge from their regressive demands, the union representing the workers, Local 3 IBEW joined with City Council members today to question the company and to decide whether the company’s franchise agreement with the City of New York should be renewed.
Before the hearing, a press conference was held on the steps of City Hall. The striking Spectrum members were joined by Councilmembers Daneek Miller, Carlos Menchaca, Rory Lanceman, Paul Vallone, and Barry Grodenchik. The workers also had support from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Public Advocate Tish James. The speakers all had a unifying message that Spectrum’s behavior in attempting to bust their union was not going to fly in union-heavy New York City.
After hearing from the elected officials, Business Manager of Local 3 IBEW, Chris Erikson, spoke. In his remarks, he brought up the fact that Spectrum is not only in danger of being penalized in New York City, but the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) is also investigating the company for lying about their speeds and failing to meet build out deadlines in upstate New York. Before Spectrum bought Time Warner, Local 3 had represented the employees for 40 years with a relatively peaceful relationship. “This hearing today goes beyond this labor dispute, it goes to the heart of whether or not Charter has lived up to its franchise agreement here in the City of New York,” said Erikson. “We don’t have a choice, you can’t say I want to dump Spectrum. There should be an option. We need to get back to a place where the citizens of New York are being treated a lot better than the way this greedy corporation is treating them.” He also said that the actions of Spectrum have caused pain for countless members and their families that are on strike, while Spectrum’s CEO made $98 Million dollars last year.
While Spectrum has a franchise agreement with the city that runs through 2020, City Council members and Local 3 believe that the agreement could be terminated early since the company has failed to meet certain requirements, including using vendors from NYC and negotiating in good faith with the union. The hearing, which was in front of the Civil Service and Labor Committee is sure to be the first of many hearings unless Spectrum gets their act together and negotiates in good faith with Local 3.
Watch the full press conference below.