Last night, members of the Communications Workers of America Union distributed flyers calling Cablevision CEO James Dolan an “Ebenezer Scrooge” outside the annual holiday fundraiser for the Lustgarten Foundation, a pancreatic cancer charity supported by the company. Cablevision released a statement about the situation this afternoon calling the union’s activities at the event “shameful” and accusing CWA of numerous other misdeeds.
“This benefit was about curing pancreatic cancer. For the CWA union to interfere with this important effort is a new low for a union that has already tried to exploit Hurricane Sandy, intimidate employees and mislead other unions,” the statement said. “It is deeply offensive to not only Cablevision employees and customers, but also to cancer sufferers and their families.”
At a raucous Martyin Luther King, Jr., Day rally yesterday, elected officials and union leaders slammed Cablevision and its CEO, James Dolan, for their anti-union policies. Their complaints stem from Cablevision’s efforts to dissuade its Brooklyn employees from unionizing with Communications Workers of America, including requiring employees to attend anti-union meetings. The speakers, standing before Madison Square Garden where the Dolan-owned Knicks were playing, largely connected the Cablevision unionization efforts to Dr. King’s efforts on behalf of civil rights.
“Dr. King, he fought side by side with workers, raising his voice in unity with theirs. Dr. King was a passionate advocate for workers’ rights all over the country,” said Dominique Sharpton, reading a statement from her father, Reverend Al Sharpton, off her phone. “Today, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s memory by standing with the workers of Cablevision, who are demanding respect and dignity and the right to join a union.”
Multiple candidates for citywide office in 2013, including possible mayoral contender Public Advocate Bill De Blasio, spoke at the event.