After months of fruitless negotiations and strong-arm tactics by upper management, Brooklyn Cablevision workers wrote a letter to Cablevision CEO James Dolan saying that they now plan to leaflet the venues he owns, which include Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theater and Radio City Music Hall, in an attempt to put pressure on Cablevision to let them unionize.
The Brooklyn Cablevision workers voted in January to unionize and join the Communications Workers of America Local 1109. In the letter, the Brooklyn employees say management had “always told us that it was our choice” to join a union and that they would be supportive if they did so. The letter indicates that management has explicitly told other Cablevision employees in the Bronx and other locations that Brooklyn Cablevision employees would not get the same raises and benefits as other Cablevision employees unless they voted to de-certify. The Bronx Cablevision employees voted not to unionize.
“What we’re gonna do is put pressure on James Dolan at every opportunity we can by leafleting the public and letting them know what’s going on, that they’re going into a venue with a businessman that doesn’t respect his workers,” said Chris Calabrese, the executive vice president of CWA Local 1109, who is assisting the Brooklyn employees in their negotiations.
Numerous elected officials have met with the Cablevision workers during the ongoing negotiations and have encouraged them to continue fighting, including New York City Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson. Calls placed to those officials for comment were not returned.
Calabrese said that the Brooklyn Cablevision employees hope to hold a conference call town hall meeting with Cablevision upper management that would be moderated by one of the aforementioned elected officials.