BY COUNCILMAN RORY LANCMAN
Last week, I joined IBEW Local 3 on the picket line here in Queens to stand in solidarity with workers demanding a fair contract from Charter Communications and their subsidiary, Spectrum-Time Warner Cable. After working without a contract since 2013, Local 3, which is headquartered in my council district, decided at the end of March that enough is enough and went on strike.
The Local 3 workers I spoke with on the picket line are technicians, engineers, warehouse workers and dispatchers who want a decent life for their kids. They are fighting for the basic bargain that has defined America for generations: If you work hard and follow the rules, you can make ends meet and support your family.
However, Charter Communications is trying to undermine that basic bargain for working people—all in the name of corporate greed.
Charter Communications is proposing a profound diminution of the benefits that Local 3 workers have earned, including the elimination of pension contributions, annuity HRA contributions, overtime pay for Saturday and Sunday work, and the company’s 401k.
These proposals are a slap in the face to Local 3 workers. Charter Communications is a multibillion-dollar corporation, but it is looking to further its own bottom line on the backs of the very workers who are critical to its success.
It is not a new strategy for a corporation to try and undermine the livelihoods of its workers. We have watched this script play out in other states and cities around the country. When successful, the damage to communities and the erosion of the middle class is significant. We cannot and will not let that happen here.
It is time for Charter to return to the negotiating table with a new approach that will lead to a fair and speedy resolution for all sides. A fair contract will both enable the company to operate effectively and protect workers’ healthcare, retirement and job security. Anything less is not a fair deal.
I am proud to stand with Local 3 workers every step of the way. In their efforts to secure a new contract, Local 3 workers are not just standing up for their families and their livelihoods—they are setting a powerful example of what it means to stand up against corporate greed in this country.