Troy Walcott: "Taking More and More Until We Have Nothing"
A striking Spectrum workers passionate plea for action at the NYC Janus Rally pulls at your heartstrings
On Saturday, Local 3 IBEW member Troy Walcott spoke at the Working People’s Day of Action rally in New York City. Troy has been on strike at Spectrum for nearly a year. Below were his remarks as well as video of Local 3 Business Manager Chris Erikson and Troy’s remarks.
As I stand here, I am remembering calls from members who are calling me telling me that the bank is about to foreclose on their home. Conversations with members that are about to have to file for bankruptcy. Remembering mothers who are working 40 hours a week to take care of their entire family and are now having to look for food pantries to get help to get by.
I am remembering calls from members who have children with special needs. They say if their healthcare is taken away it is not if something will happen, but the question is going to be when. And then I remember recently sitting at a table across from Spectrum cable during negotiations and them telling us "I promise on my mother’s grave, you will never get back the medical and retirement plans for you and your families."
I am one of 1,800 out on strike and the CEO of this company just gave himself an $82 Million raise. Now, what did they look to do? How can they now look and say, they used to blame you not being able to pay us on money, but how can they be making $29 Billion a year and giving yourselves a $100 million raise and tell us now they don't have money? But what do they do instead? They just blatantly union-bust! What gives these companies the ability to think they can do this? It is because we have backed down for a little too long. We've taken steps back in too many places and now it is time to move forward and go on the offense.
There never used to be a place where you had to work side by side, union and non-union and the non-union trying to undercut your wages. It used to never be a place where you had to give your hard-earned union dollars to a place like Spectrum working with nothing but scabs. When this CEO came into this city, what he said was that his customers weren't paying enough money. So, I am going to ask you is your cable bill to low or too high? What we are looking to try and do in this city is to put forward an NYC Cable option so the cable in this city would be owned by the people and not just by some greedy corporation.
They want to give us survival wages instead of a living wage. The way they do it is by separating us. They tell us you're for red, you're for blue, you're Christian, you're Muslim, you're black, you're white, you're non-union, you're union, but what do they look at all of us as? A working-class stiff. We either have a lot of money or we have nothing, and they look at us all as nothing. So, what we need to do is we need to start looking at each other as coming together as one group and fight back against these companies that are trying to take everything from us. Court cases coming up like the one Janus are the start of showing that they won't stop. They take something from us they take a little bit from us, but they take more and more and won't stop until they leave us with nothing.
This court case is just the beginning. So, what we have to do is start to remember this court cases and remember the people who came before us and the people who stood on the side and did nothing. We have as union brothers and sisters to make sure that we stand up and support them and their fight for us. After we vote don't just look for that one day and go home and not support anything. We need to take steps forward to support the men and women who put their necks on the line and take steps forward for us. That's the only way we are going to get this completed.
We have to take more responsibility and start going on the offense. Enough Defense. Last thing I remember also, a co-worker of mine, non-union who caught a manager stealing and told her HR representative what was going on and he told her to document it. After she did that she lost her job by the same HR rep who told her to document it. She's not union but I felt angry for her the same. She is working class, just like we are working class. We have to stop letting them separate us and understand it's us against them. Corporations against the people that want to take it from us. Remember it now, carry that anger with you not just while you are here in this square. Carry it when you have to go to work the next day and just give and just get by to get home to go to bed and get up and go to work the next day and go back.
Remember it when you have to get up and slave and miss your kids precious moments in life because they want to hold you to work to take every last bit from you. Remember it now and remember it in November. They will not stop us from becoming union strong! Solidarity Brothers.