Latest Charter/Spectrum Audit Nears Completion; Strikers Anticipate Default
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Latest Charter/Spectrum Audit Nears Completion; Strikers Anticipate Default

October 3, 2018

By Joe Maniscalco

New York, NY – A follow up audit aimed at determining Charter/Spectrum’s compliance with its New York City Franchise Agreement is just weeks away from completion, LaborPress has learned. 

The strike against Charter/Spectrum drags on as DoITT’s latest audit nears completion.

According to Stephanie Raphael, New York City Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications [DoITT] director of communications, this latest audit of Charter/Spectrum’s Franchise Agreement with the City of New York is proceeding with exactly the same scope as the prior probe — but with a set of “new directives.” 

“We can’t give specifics but it’s proceeding well,” Raphael told LaborPress in an email.

The latest audit of Charter/Spectrum’s Franchise Agreement with the City of New York was triggered back on July 25, after [DoITT] hit the problem-plagued telecommunications giant with an initial  Notice of  Default. 

Cable technicians with IBEW Local 3 have been on strike against Charter/Spectrum for more than a year-and-a-half.  About 1,800 workers walked off the job back on March 28, 2017, after the corporate bosses moved to cut union pension and healthcare plans. 

This is a follow up audit with the exact same scope plus new directives. We can’t give specifics but it’s proceeding well. — Stephanie Raphael, DoITT director of communications. 

Charter/Spectrum is already looking at an October 10, deadline to appeal the Public Service Commission’s order to vacate the Empire State after the agency pulled its approval of Charter Communication’s takeover of Time-Warner Cable.

A  lawsuit, meanwhile, originally brought by former New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accusing the telecom giant with fraud, remains ongoing. 

In DoITT’s previous audit of Charter/Spectrum’s Franchise Agreement with the City of New York, the telecom giant was found to be using an overly broad interpretation of the term “located in New York City” as it refers to Article 17 of the Franchise Agreement and the use of contract workers.

The National Labor Relations Board additionally determined the company had engaged in unfair labor practices in relation to a work stoppage on Paige Avenue in Brooklyn on April 2, 2014, when it “coercively interrogated employees regarding the events” of that job action. 

News of the anticipated results of DoITT’s latest audit also comes in the midst of consumer complaints about shoddy Charter/Spectrum service and derision for the contract workers brought in to replace striking union techs. 

“With all the recent outages in the city — some lasting around 24 hrs — it’s apparent that these out-of-state non-local contractors don’t know what they are doing,” striking Charter/Spectrum worker Chris Fasulo told LaborPress. “The city needs to slap Spectrum with a default. Help end this strike for the residents of New York City who have been held hostage by Spectrums’s unwillingness to negotiate a fair contract.”

Numerous city legislators have already publicly opposed renewal of Charter/Spectrum’s Franchise Agreement, with one council member declaring there’s “not a snowball’s chance in hell” the pact will be renewed when it expires in 2020. 

Strikers also say that another default finding against Charter/Spectrum would give a huge boost to New York City Communication — the worker cooperative hoping to supplant the corporate behemoth in New York.

Without a resolution, November 1, will mark the 584th day of IBEW Local 3’s strike against Charter/Spectrum. 

October 3, 2018

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