The National Labor Relations Board has charged Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) CEO James Dolan with threatening to withhold pay raises to his company's Brooklyn tech workers unless they voted to quit their union.
In a complaint filed Thursday, and first reported on by The New York Times, the Brooklyn office of the NLRB also accused Dolan of illegally setting up a non-binding vote in September with the Brooklyn workers, after telling the employees he'd work to decertify their representation if they voted for that to happen.
Federal law mandates that only the NLRB can conduct a vote to decertify union representation. The Brooklyn Cablevision workers voted 129-115 to keep themselves represented by the Communications Workers of America.
Speaking to the Times, Dolan accused the NLRB of not considering Cablevision's side of the story before issuing its complaint.
"The NLRB has turned into a tool of Big Labor," he said.
Added an official Cablevision statement: "We are outraged but not surprised by the one-sided findings from an NLRB, which operates to protect the interests of Big Labor. The NLRB Regional Office led by Director Paulsen should be serving as a trusted government body with an open mind, but instead acts to advance the CWA's agenda. At the same time, Director Paulsen's office willfully ignored and failed to act on serious violations perpetrated by the CWA against Cablevision employees. Cablevision will vigorously defend against these unfounded NLRB allegations until we reach a legitimate court of law as opposed to a biased federal agency run by political appointees."
Responded the CWA VP Chris Shelton, in its statement: "The federal government has once again charged James Dolan and Cablevision with shamelessly breaking federal labor laws. Just because he's a billionaire, he doesn't get to supersede the law or trample on workers' rights."
The rancor between Cablevision and its unionized Brooklyn workers dates back to 2012, when the latter voted overwhelmingly to join the CWA.
Not helping Dolan and Cablevision: The CWA has close ties to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and many local city council members. Last month, based on the kerfuffle with the union, the city council moved to block Cablevision on a public Wi-Fi project it didn't even bid on.
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