For six months now, union workers for Charter in New York and New Jersey have been on strike. Now the cable company has filed a lawsuit against the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3, accusing union members of sabotaging customers’ cable installations to make Charter look bad.
Why does Charter believe that its employees are the ones behind at least 125 incidents where someone allegedly cut fiber optic and coaxial cables, knocking out service for tens of thousands of customers?
“The saboteurs clearly knew the optimal locations where they could quickly cut cable lines to multiple customers without being harmed or observed,” Charter explains in a filing in New York state court, according to the New York Daily News, “suggesting they are cable technicians who work for Charter.”
Someone dressed as a Charter worker wouldn’t attract any attention lurking in the utility areas for apartment buildings or outside of homes cutting wires. Former employees would also know exactly where to cut to knock out service to the maximum number of people.
Charter is asking for an emergency order that would ban union members from being within 25 feet of any of its facilities, or from threatening workers or equipment
Yet the union insists that it is not behind the sabotage.
“Any act of sabotage we don’t condone, you shouldn’t do it, it hurts your [negotiating] position,” the union local’s business manager told the Daily News.
The striking technicians have been working without a contract since 2013, dating back well before Charter took over their employer, Time Warner Cable.