Cablevision sues Brooklyn local CWA for accusing it of racism

The battle between Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and its unionized Brooklyn workers continued to escalate Wednesday, with the cable company suing the Communications Workers of America Local 1109 in New York Supreme Court.

Filed in Nassau County, the suit also names senior union official Chris Shelton and former Cablevision employee Jerome Thompson.

According to a Cablevision statement, the Bethpage, N.Y.-based MSO accuses Thompson and the union of making "defamatory false statements, including baseless accusations of racist actions, designed to damage Cablevision's reputation and its business.

A blog post on the CWA Local 1109 dated Sept. 19 notes, "Recently, Cablevison fired Jerome Thompson for saying in a closed-door meeting that just like slavery is a stain on America, Cablevision's unfair treatment of its mostly African-American Brooklyn workers and its union-busting is a stain on their new brand."

Reads a Cablevision statement: "The CWA union is knowingly disseminating false and defamatory statements in an attempt to negatively impact Cablevision's business and damage the reputation of the company and its employees. The CWA's desperate campaign is designed to spread lies and misinformation to Cablevision's customers, elected officials and the public at large. It is clear that the CWA will stop at nothing to advance its selfish interests and we are asking the Court to put an immediate halt to their unlawful and malicious activities."

Responded Shelton, in a statement obtained by Multichannel News: "This is just another in a string of baseless and frivolous lawsuits from Cablevision, which, like all the earlier ones, will be dismissed," Shelton, vice president of CWA District 1, said in a statement. "Rather than stop the outrageous behavior at Cablevision and pay Brooklyn workers the same wages as other Cablevision employees, [CEO] James Dolan is again turning to expensive lawyers to try to intimidate workers and their allies. It's time for him to sit down and negotiate in good faith with Cablevision workers."

Cablevision and its Brooklyn technicians have been at odds ever since the formation of the Local 1109 in 2012.

For more:
- read this Cablevision statement
- read this Multichannel News story

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