Cablevision technicians in Brooklyn are asking CEO James Dolan, "Where the papers at?"
The workers were invited by the National Action Network to perform at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and they took the stage with their latest rap, "Dear Mr. Dolan: Where The Papers At?" It's a call for fairness from the company that has refused to bargain a fair contract for 280 workers.
In January 2012, these brave workers became the first Cablevision employees to vote for union representation when they joined CWA Local 1109. Since then, Cablevision management has thrown everything at this group:
- Illegally firing 22 workers earlier this year. (They got their jobs back as a result of tremendous support from the community and elected officials.)
- Paying techs in Brooklyn about 20 percent less than workers doing the same jobs in the Bronx and other locations to stop any more workers from choosing a union. This and several other unfair labor practice charges are the focus of a National Labor Relations Board hearing set to begin next month.
- Refusing to fairly bargain with workers as the law requires.
Notice that all the major NYC mayoral candidates make cameo appearances in the rap to show their support for Cablevision workers.
Cablevision workers aren't backing down. They are determined to get their union and their contract.
For months, it was in doubt whether we would have labor law on Labor Day. Cablevision led the attacks on the National Labor Relations Board with full-page ads depicting board members, who are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, as puppets of unions. But a bipartisan Senate voted to confirm all five board members and now Cablevision management will be held accountable once more for their actions.
But as we celebrate Labor Day, the real question for Americans is what does fairness at work look like? Terror and recrimination from management like Cablevision's or, as the music demands, a fair deal for employees?