Strike by Charter IBEW workers enters third month, no end in sight

Charter Communications sign (use this one)

An ongoing strike against Charter Communications by 1,700 workers with the International Brotherhood of Electricians Local 3 has entered its third month without any immediate signs of a resolution.

Workers held a rally this week in New York City in coordination with a hearing of the city's Zoning and Franchise Committee to examine Charter-owned Spectrum’s business agreement with the city, which dates to 1983.

The workers went on strike March 28 over a disagreement about the company's contributions to pensions and benefits, among other concerns. Talks with Charter, which acquired former Spectrum parent Time Warner Cable last year, have not borne much fruit.

As the New York Daily News reported, the current franchise agreement gives Charter the non-exclusive right to operate cable franchises in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island through 2020. That provision comes with certain conditions, including one allowing employees the right to collective bargaining, an issue that’s at the heart of the current Spectrum strike.

The city’s franchise agreement states that Spectrum “shall recognize the right of its employees to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.”

Workers walked off the job on March 28. With job descriptions ranging from field engineer to warehouse employee, they say they have endured deteriorating work conditions and forfeited benefits since Charter closed its acquisition of TWC last May. The members of the IBEW Local 3 said they have been working without contracts since 2013.

Spectrum has asserted that it has offered field technicians a pay increase higher than what the union has demanded, along with "competitive and robust" healthcare and retirement benefits.