The Electrical Worker online
September 2017

From the Officers
index.html Home    print Print    email Email

Go to
Standing Up to Corporate Greed

As IBEW international president, I have the opportunity to meet with many CEOs who are committed to taking the high road when it comes to workplace relations and understand that good labor-management relations has mutual benefits.

Sadly, Charter/Spectrum CEO Tom Rutledge isn't one of them. Rutledge is the highest-paid CEO in the nation and his cable company took in $29 billion in revenue last year.

But as our cover story for this issue explains, New York City Charter employees — members of Local 3 — were forced to strike more than five months ago.

Rutledge, despite his company's profits, has demanded draconian cuts to the company's health and retirement funds, the elimination of weekend overtime pay and more flexibility to hire lower-paid, nonunion contractors.

While more money keeps flowing to the top, he wants to punish the men and women who make those profits possible.

And it is not just employees who are victims of Charter's greed. Customers are hurt as well. Numerous regulators have filed complaints against the company for shoddy service and broken promises to the public.

No union member wants to strike. It subjects the striker and his or her family to numerous hardships. Our members want nothing more than to get back to work doing what they do best: servicing their customers.

But unchecked corporate greed is preventing them from doing so.

I always say I would rather be working with employers than against them. But it is hard to work with a company with so little regard for its employees. Or for its customers.

Increasingly, public pressure is building on Charter to do the right thing and end this strike.

Numerous lawmakers, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and many members of the City Council and state Assembly have called on Rutledge to return to the bargaining table.

It is time for Charter management to sit down with its workers and negotiate a fair agreement so everyone can get back to work.

But until they do, our brothers and sisters on the picket line can count on the total support of myself and every officer of the IBEW.


Also: Cooper: Solidarity in Baltimore Read Cooper's Column

Lonnie R. Stephenson

Lonnie R. Stephenson
International President