Building Trades

CWA Pushes to End Giveaways to MSG

September 25, 2013

Assemblyman David Weprin calls for end to tax breaks to Madison Square Garden

Assemblyman David Weprin calls for end to tax breaks to Madison Square Garden

By Marc Bussanich

New York, NY—Assemblyman David Weprin, along with members of the Communications Workers of America, called for the state legislature to move on legislation sponsored by Mr. Weprin to end $17 million in annual tax breaks to Madison Square Garden that has cost the city over $300 million since enacted under the late Mayor Ed Koch. Watch Video

According to Assemblyman Weprin, the tax abatement took effect back in the 1980s when the New York Knicks and Rangers were threatening to leave the city. He noted that the late mayor expected the tax abatement to last no more than 10 years, but MSG has been benefiting from the abatement since 1982.

Weprin wants to end the exemption because the city needs the additional money to pay for social services.

“There’s no possible justification at this point with needed revenue for the city. Can you imagine what $17 million can do for the city’s budget,” said Weprin.

Mr. Weprin announced that there are over 40 co-sponsors of the legislation (A6597/S4609) to end the property tax break (elucidated in the New York Real Property Tax Law Section 429) that no other corporation in the city enjoys.  

While MSG is reaping huge benefits from the city, its CEO James Dolan is waging a fierce anti-union campaign against the CWA at Cablevision, another Dolan property.

The CWA successfully organized nearly 300 Cablevision technicians in January 2012, but they’re still lacking a contract with Cablevision. The CWA says Cablevision and James Dolan have been charged with intimidating and spying on workers and bargaining in bad faith; the CWA has asked the city to hold the company accountable for breaching its franchise agreement.

Pete Sikora, a spokesman for CWA District 1, said Mr. Dolan has engaged in union busting on a scale the CWA has never experienced before from a major employer.

“Dolan violates labor law flagrantly. Dolan has to understand that this state is not going to reward union busters with $17 million tax breaks,” said Sikora.  

Follow Marc Bussanich on Twitter marc@laborpress.org 

September 25, 2013

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