NYC council moves to block Cablevision from hot spot project ... it didn't even bid on

Citing the cable company's ongoing battle with unionized technical workers in Brooklyn, the New York City Council is moving to block any potential deal that would let Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) convert the city's obsolete network of pay-phone booths into Wi-Fi hotspots.

In a letter obtained by Crain's New York Business, 42 council members urged New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Anne Roest to "proceed with extreme caution" with any bid regarding Cablevision.

For its part, Cablevision says it didn't submit a bid for the project by the July 21 deadline.

Still, the council members--who are being influenced, Cablevision believes, by the Communications Workers of America--don't want to take any chances.

"Because the identities of bidders for city franchise [request for proposals] are confidential we do not know who has submitted bids," reads the letter. "However, given the participation of Cablevision, Inc., in the Wi-Fi bidders' conference, and its publicly stated intention of making Wi-Fi central to its business strategy, it is reasonable to assume that Cablevision may be one of the companies seeking the franchise for NYC's plant to create a robust network of Internet hotspots. Before you make a decision, we want to express our concerns that Cablevision may not meet the terms of the RFP."

The council members go on to cite a complaint launched by the National Labor Relations Board relating to a two-year-old dispute between the cable company and its Brooklyn tech workers, who are unionized under the CWA banner.

"New York City's business, by law, cannot go to companies which violate the collective bargaining rights of their workers, not to mention engage in blatantly discriminatory practices," Bob Master, CWA's political director, said in a statement obtained by Crain's.

Responded Cablevision: "This is the CWA union, Bob Master, and the Working Families Party up to their usual ham-handed political tricks."

For more:
- read this Crain's New York Business story

Related links:
Cablevision sues Brooklyn local CWA for accusing it of racism
Cablevision: Majority of Brooklyn workers still want out of union
Unionized Brooklyn Cablevision techs release YouTube music video: 'Strike'
Bronx Cablevision technicians reject proposal to join CWA

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