In the latest development in the ongoing battle between Cablevision and its Brooklyn workers over their attempt to unionize, the cable company fired 23 employees on Wednesday after they allegedly refused to return to their jobs after confronting management about a lack of movement at the negotiating table.
“A small number of Brooklyn technicians refused to work Wednesday after several requests to return to their jobs,” said Cablevision Spokesman Jim Maiella. “Therefore, Cablevision took legal and appropriate steps to maintain adequate staffing and ensure its Brooklyn operations are not disrupted.”
The Brooklyn workers and the Communications Workers of America District 1, who are backing the workers’ efforts to form a union, tell a different side of the story. Tim Dubnau, an organizing coordinator for CWA District 1, said that the workers approached management yesterday, per the company’s open door policy, to air their grievances over the lack of bargaining sessions. They claim they were then kicked out by management and told that they were being fired for refusing to work, despite the fact that none of the workers had gone on strike, and simply wanted a sit-down with management, according to Dubnau.
“This is a company that has utter contempt for its workers, they have utter contempt for the law, all they care about is lining the pockets of [Cablevision CEO James]Dolan and his cronies,” Dubnau said.
Dubnau added that roughly 20 people submitted affidavit ballots to the National Labor Review Board to plead their case. The two sides continue to hold negotiating sessions once a month, but both sides indicated they were far apart.
In another twist, with the one-year anniversary of the Brooklyn workers’ vote to certify approaching, the workers can vote to decertify under NLRB law. Dubnau said that the workers were still very much determined to continue their fight to unionize.
This morning, several elected officials including Democratic mayoral candidates Christine Quinn and Bill de Blasio and many state and city legislators will walk the fired Brooklyn workers back to work in protest of Cablevision’s decision.
UPDATE: Below is a video of Quinn and de Blasio standing with the Brooklyn Cablevision this morning demanding to speak with Cablevision management about the firing of the 23 workers yesterday.