Charter/Spectrum is one of the most profitable cable companies in the United States, taking in more than $29 billion in revenue in 2016. And Tom Rutledge is the highest-paid CEO in the nation, making nearly $100 million last year.
Yet Charter is demanding cutbacks that would be devastating to some 1,700 members of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3 in New York, who have been on strike against the company since March 28. These include:
- Forcing employees to bear most of the burden of health care costs.
- Elimination of company contributions to the pension and medical.
- Elimination of weekend overtime pay.
- Flexibility to subcontract work normally done by union members.
Charter/Spectrum has refused to come to the table, much less negotiate. It also has ignored New York City’s political leaders, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and many members of the City Council, who have called on the company to negotiate a fair contract.
And while the company is making record profits, customer service continues to deteriorate. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the company earlier this year for reneging on a promise to upgrade internet speeds. And former Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued the company in 2015, alleging it made telemarketing calls to consumers on the state’s Do Not Call list.
That’s why IBEW members have handed out leaflets at Charter/Spectrum pay stations across the county, letting consumers know about the company’s unfair practices.
"We would much rather be partners with companies we do business with, but IBEW members are battling a corporation that has little regard not just for its employees’ welfare, but also for the customers it serves," IBEW President Lonnie R. Stephenson said. "That’s disheartening, but it’s a battle we can win."
This is a guest post from Alex Hogan of IBEW.