‘Cancel Spectrum’s franchise!’

SLL photo: Stephen Millies

New York, Dec. 23 — Striking Spectrum cable workers and their supporters gathered on the steps of City Hall today to demand the New York City Council kick the union-busting outfit out of town. The day before marked the 1,000th day that the 1,800 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3 had been on strike. 

Workers sang altered Christmas carols to mock Spectrum’s strikebreaking. “Joy to the world when scabs are gone, let’s bring back Local 3! Give us back our pensions, give us back our health care,” they sang.  

While strikers struggle to pay for their families’ food, housing and medical care, Spectrum/Charter’s CEO, Tom Rutledge, got a pay package of $8.1 million last year. That’s actually a big cut from 2016, when this union-buster received $98.5 million for gobbling up Time Warner Cable.

Billionaire John Malone is the company’s largest stockholder, owning 27 percent of the shares. This rich pig gave $250,000 to help pay for Trump’s inauguration.

At least a thousand strikebreakers have been hired by Spectrum to install and repair cable service. That’s an enormous expense. Why doesn’t Rutledge sign a union contract instead?

This isn’t a normal work stoppage. It’s political strikebreaking by finance capital against one of the most powerful union locals in the United States. The wealthy and powerful want to show the millions who work at Walmart, Amazon and McDonald’s that any attempts to unionize will be crushed.

Spectrum/Charter took on $27 billion dollars in debt to finance the takeover of Time Warner’s cable operations. The banks that lent this money are demanding the union be broken.

Union members and elected officials at the rally spoke of revoking Spectrum’s franchise when it comes up for renewal in July 2020. That’s over six months away

If the capitalists can crush these members of IBEW Local 3, they’ll come after every construction union in New York. Isn’t it time to call a one-day labor holiday to shut down every construction site in the Big Apple?

That’s the only language the billionaire class understands.

The writer is a retired member of the American Train Dispatchers Association and the Transportation Communications International Union.