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Cablevision, CWA Battle Over Brooklyn

About a year after its workers in Brooklyn voted to join the Communications Workers of America, the MSO and the union continue to lock horns over representation in the borough.

Cablevision said Friday that workers in Brooklyn have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for a vote to decertify the union.

“Virtually all Cablevision employees have a direct relationship with the company,” Cablevision said in a statement. “Cablevision looks forward to an election at the earliest possible date to allow its Brooklyn employees to determine whether or not the CWA union will continue to represent them.”  

The union, in turn accuses Cablevision of distributing the decertification petition to intimidate workers after firing 22 technicians at the Brooklyn unit for taking advantage of the company’s “open door” policy to discuss grievances with one of their managers, a practice the union said is federally protected. Instead of meeting with the workers, Cablevision informed those employees that they had been permanently replaced a term usually used for striking workers, the union claims.

“This is just one more piece of management's campaign of fear and intimidation,” The CWA said in a statement. “On the same day that Cablevision-Optimum fired 22 workers, they also sent an email and handed out a memo in person discussing decertification, in a clear attempt to intimidate people.”

Cablevision, in response, said the 22 employees refused to work after multiple requests to do so.

“They were then replaced, to ensure our customers were served,” Cablevision said in an e-mail message. “Five of these employees have already been brought back."

About 282 Cablevision workers in Brooklyn voted to join the union in January 2012.  In December, Cablevision sued the union for what it said were false comments concerning its service levels in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The union had tried unsuccessfully to organize Cablevision workers in the Bronx in June.