March 29, 2017
Unionized employees of Spectrum/Charter’s Inwood site demonstrated their solidarity on Broadway today against the company formerly known as Time Warner Cable. Passing cars, trucks, and even elevated subway trains honked in support of the striking IBEW Local 3 workers as they passed by the picket line.
“New York’s a Union town,” one striker observed. “You’ve got a Sanitation garage and a Transit depot right over there, and the cops are here too. They all get it.”
Foreman Ray Rodriguez said the strikers aren’t asking for more of anything. Rather, they’re striking to keep what they already have, even as Spectrum tries to take it away. Weekend overtime pay, the right to have a shop steward at disciplinary meetings, pension and healthcare givebacks, forfeiture of unused sick leave, and the use of non-union contractors are among the issues Rodriguez identified. Unfair labor practices, such as disciplining workers for repeat service calls caused by outdated or defective hardware, are also a major issue.
On the subject of contractors, Rodriguez said that Spectrum has been bringing them in over the past few months, seemingly in anticipation of a strike. While the union is on strike, service calls and installations will be handled by these contractors, according to Rodriguez.
One striker played back a robocall, reportedly from Spectrum, on his cellphone that stated “the strike is illegal and you are required to return to work on your next scheduled shift.” None of the strikers had any idea why Spectrum considers the strike illegal, and two NYPD officers parked right beside the picket line appeared unconcerned with this allegedly illegal activity. The company’s newsroom provided no mention at all of the strike.