Cablevision: Majority of Brooklyn workers still want out of union

Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) said its Brooklyn-based field technicians and dispatchers voted 129-115 against maintaining union representation with the Communication Workers of America (CWA), in a nonbinding straw poll conducted by a third-party firm Sept. 10.

The result, which is stridently refuted by the CWA, does nothing to decertify the nearly 300 workers as members of the CWA Local 1109. But it does serve to highlight the cable company's continuing battle to undermine the union's presence in the borough.

The CWA managed to put Cablevision's Brooklyn workers under its umbrella in 2012. (A similar effort in the Bronx was unsuccessful.) The CWA and Cablevision have been fiercely battling ever since, with the union petitioning the National Labor Relations board at one point.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has managed to insert himself into the kerfuffle, supporting the CWA's unionization of the Brooklyn workers while serving as Public Advocate for the Big Apple. The CWA, meanwhile, supported de Blasio's successful 2013 New York mayoral run.

"For the first time in nearly three years, our Brooklyn employees have expressed their feelings about the CWA in a vote," Cablevision said in a statement. "Yesterday, they rejected continued CWA representation. It is time for the CWA to respect our employees' wishes and withdraw. In addition, Mayor de Blasio is repaying a political debt to the CWA and the Working Families Party, and is advocating the union's agenda against the wishes of our employees. Mayor de Blasio should tell the CWA and his political friends to stop blocking our employees' rights. We call upon the Mayor, the Working Families Party and the CWA to act promptly and allow our Brooklyn employees' voices to prevail."

The CWA responded with the following statement, from CWA District One Vice President Chris Shelton: "The only election that matters happened almost three years ago when Cablevision workers voted 180-86 to join CWA in an election supervised by the Federal government. Today's [Sept. 10] vote was illegal because it was conducted under the cloud of multiple Unfair Labor Practices that are being adjudicated by the National Labor Relations Board and make it impossible to conduct a fair and free election. Under no circumstances would the NLRB permit this type of election to take place. No union observers were involved. There was no security in the vote count. This bogus sham was a waste of time and money. What's really needed is for James Dolan to sit down and bargain a fair contract that includes equal pay with other Cablevision employees."

For more:
- read this Cablevision press release

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