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Strikers Rally On Charter/Spectrum’s Doorstep; Pols Threaten To Give Cable Giant The Boot
Updated On: Mar 29, 2018
Organized labor marks 1-year anniversary of IBEW Local 3’s strike against Charter/Spectrum.

As music from labor songs to Bon Jovi (“the union’s on strike” is a lyric from the band’s “Livin’ on A Prayer”) played on loudspeakers, and passing vehicles from city buses to postal service vans to yellow cabs honked in support, those in the crowd packed behind police barricades raised signs and fists to make their voices heard. The strike has been ongoing since the company demanded the end of the union defined benefit pension fund and the union health care plan, driving workers out into the streets. The union is also concerned about the company’s use of cheap, sub-contracted labor.

“Happy Anniversary!” someone called out. The blue Spectrum flag hanging outside the building fluttered next to an American flag; in the first floor windows, a couple of figures watched the scene unfold, one eating, occasionally laughing along with someone next to him, and a woman held up her phone to film the protest. In contrast to that emptiness and apparent languor, workers across the street were impassioned and imbued with feeling.

“This is union busting 101,” said one who had been on strike for the full year. “The company rep said, ‘Over my dead body’ would they give us medical benefits. They’re refusing anything.” He said another striker who just bought a house when the strike began had to move back in with his mother and father. Another worker, not on strike but in the same union, said, “As they break down part of the union they will go for the whole union – and all working people. An injury to one is an injury to all.” A third, who said he’d been in the Local for 40 years, said, “We’re trained professionals. We all have college degrees, all kinds of training. Training is the key. We’re all big earners, big taxpayers, and pay big cable bills. Senior guys like me train the others – you want professionals in your house; you want the job done right.”

Elected officials including NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Public Advocate Tish James came to the podium to voice support, and were preceded by Chris Erickson, business manager for the local, who informed the crowd, “For 40 years we had a relationship with Time Warner, a good company, with good benefits. Then Charter/Spectrum came in and destroyed the lives of 1,800 workers,” referring to the merger of the companies that precipitated the changes

ATU Local 1056
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