Editor’s Note: LaborPress has recently obtained a copy of the audit referenced above, and will be further updating this report shortly to more fully reflect the contents of that audit.
New York, NY – The Mayor’s Office, on Saturday night, said that the findings of a newly-completed audit of Charter Communications’ Franchise Agreement with
the City of New York could result in the city issuing a “default” against the mega-corporation.
For months, striking Charter/Spectrum workers with IBEW Local 3 have insisted that the corporation’s use of out-of-state contractors violates the Franchise Agreement it holds with the city.
Roughly 1,800 IBEW Local 3 workers went on strike last March, in a battle to preserve union health care plans and pensions.
According to the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT), Charter Communications — the second-largest cable TV provider in the country — is using an “overly broad interpretation of the term ‘located in New York City” as it refers to contract workers brought in during the strike.
As a result, the DoITT says it has interpreted the term for them, and will once again audit Charter Communications within the next 12 months to see if the telecom has moved into compliance with the appropriate definition of “located in New York City.” If Charter is not in compliance, the city promises a default will be issued.
The audit, in part, recommends “going forward, Charter employ more stringent criteria and process for determining whether or not a vendor is a “City vendor” under the Franchise Agreements and systematically document in writing both its determination process and efforts to engage local vendors.”
The audit, begun in July 2017 and completed this past January, specifically looked at Charter’s compliance with Article 17 of the Franchise Agreement it holds with the City of New York.
Mayor de Blasio directed the audit following complaints IBEW Local 3 workers made against Charter’s use of out-of-state contractors.
The criteria the city is using to establish the definition of “located in the city” includes, being registered to do business in New York; holding a long-term commercial lease and having more than 50-percent of the workforce headquartered here.
Charter, conversely, maintains that simply “doing work” or maintaining storage facilities in the city means “located in the city.”
“We continue to meet our franchise obligations and our response to their findings is included in the report,” Charter spokesperson John Bonomo said in an email.
A standard “default” is defined as a written record of noncompliance with a provision of the Franchise Agreement, and could impact Charter’s ability to renew its pact with the city in 2020.
Last week, NY Supreme Court shot down Charter’s attempts to crush Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s lawsuit alleging the cable TV giant is ripping off subscribers by failing to deliver advertised internet speeds.