Charter Communications may have promised President Trump it would add 20,000 new jobs over the next few years, but at least 1,700 of the cable operator's employees in New York and New Jersey walked off the job Tuesday, claiming they have lost benefits and endured shoddy working conditions ever since the company bought out Time Warner Cable in May.
The workers, former Time Warner Cable workers ranging from warehouse employees to field technicians, are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3 and say they have been without a contract since 2013.
According to The Daily News, the union claims Charter wants to stop contributing to workers’ pension and medical plans. The company, according to the article, denied the pension claims but said it has proposed increasing employee compensation and offering “competitive and robust” health and retirement benefits.
“Spectrum's primary objective is to provide great service to our customers, and we believe fairly compensated field technicians are critical to that objective," Charter VP of field communications Rich Ruggiero said in a statement. "This is why Spectrum is offering our field technicians an even larger pay increase than the union has demanded, along with competitive and robust healthcare and retirement benefits.
"Spectrum made this offer on Feb. 12 and didn't receive a counterproposal from Local 3 until two days ago (March 26)," he continued. "We believe this greater compensation to be more beneficial to our employees than continuing to fund the failing union-managed benefits program. We have a solid contingency plan in place and don’t expect customers to be impacted by Local 3’s actions.”
The strike comes days after Charter chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge met with President Trump to announce its plans to invest $25 billion in network upgrades over four years. The company also reiterated a pledge to add up to 20,000 new workers over that same period.
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