DENVER—Technically, it’s 1,777.9 miles on the odometer from Denver to New York City, but striking Charter technicians in the Big Apple found a way to get to Charter Chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge remotely as he got set to deliver a morning keynote at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo conference here yesterday.
According to Josh Downey, president of the Denver Area Labor Federation, it was his organization, along with the AFL-CIO, and local affiliates of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who greeted Expo attendees with a protest flyer as they walked into the keynote.
“Bad faith, bad service,” said one of the taglines adjacent to a picture of Rutledge. “Charter Spectrum CEO turns his back on customers and workers,” read another. At the bottom of the barb-festooned flyer was a dig on Rutledge’s $98 million salary in 2016: “$47,363 per hour should buy better customer service,” the blurb read.
Inside, Rutledge was subdued, delivering a broad industry address but not once acknowledging the fact that many in the audience had the flyer in their possession.
Later, the IBEW Local 3, which represents 1,800 Charter techs who’ve been on strike since March 28, released this statement: "For the past seven months 1,800 hardworking women and men of IBEW Local 3 have been fighting to protect their healthcare and retirement benefits from being slashed by one of the wealthiest companies in the country, Charter Communications. At the same time that Charter has shown a blatant disregard for workers, their customers have also been shortchanged by poor service and higher rates. While Charter's CEO speaks at the Cable-Tec Expo, we are proud to have the support of local labor allies and affiliates in sending a message to Charter: your customers and workers deserve better.”