In January 2012, some 285 Brooklyn Cablevision workers voted to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and have since been in negotiations for a fair contract, with little success. In April, two National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional directors issued complaints against Brooklyn Cablevision for failure to bargain in good faith and for illegally firing 22 workers.
Now the cable giant has filed a suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit claiming the court’s recent ruling that President Barack Obama's recess appointments of three members to the NLRB are invalid should reach even deeper into the NLRB and invalidate decisions by the board’s regional offices. (The D.C. Circuit ruling is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.)
If Cablevision’s claim is upheld, it would not only block the actions against the cable company but invalidate all actions taken since January 2012 by the two regional offices (plus eight other of the NLRB’s 28 regional offices).
In a May 23 article, Cablevision CEO James Dolan told the Wall Street Journal he was looking forward to an NLRB hearing on the unfair labor practice charges. But days later, the firm filed its suit. Bob Master, CWA District 1 legislative and political director, said, "Rather than trying to make their case against charges of anti-union behavior before a neutral law judge, Cablevision has now resorted to trying to undermine the authority of the federal agency which reviewed the evidence and issued the charges."
You can support Cablevision workers by “liking” their Facebook page.
The court case dovetails with the broader effort by congressional Republicans and their corporate allies to cripple the NLRB. Obama’s appointments to the NLRB have been continually blocked by Senate Republicans. While his bipartisan package of five board nominees—three Democrats and two Republicans—was voted out of committee on a party-line vote last month, a filibuster by Senate Republicans is still a possibility.
If the nominees are not confirmed before August, when the term of one of the current NLRB members ends, the board will be without a quorum and unable to function.
Republican lawmakers also have pushed legislation to defund the board, to shut it down and to curtail its work, and have pursued legal challenges that have stalled justice for many workers.
Text NLRB to 235246 to join this campaign and ask the Senate to confirm the board nominations now. (Standard message and data rates may apply.)
Please call your senators at 1-888-264-6154.