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Cablevision has been fighting with the Communication Workers of America for the past year over demands that technicians be paid the same rate as non-union employees. The company has been criticized for “union-busting” and labor organizers have attempted to impede company gatherings on many occasions. The charges have gathered attention by Congressional Labor Committee Democrats and at the National Labor Relations Board.
But Seibert was likely not anticipating a thought-out plan to interrupt him as he was telling financial analysts about the company’s future.
After opening his remarks by discussing how 2012 was a tough year for Cablevision with programming fights with Fox and ABC and a report that highlighted that the company’s internet product delivered speeds less than what was promised, Seibert shifted to how this current year represented a “real sea change” for Cablevision.
He talked about the introduction of mobile products and new view guides and spoke about how Cablevision was “happy to compete on product.”
Just as he was addressing possible rate increases for programmers, a protester shouted to him. “Why won’t you give workers a fair time?” asked the man. “You insult them by not giving them a fair contract. That’s greed and despicable.”
Seibert and the moderator patiently awaited for security to take the protester away. After that happened, and Cablevision’s chief financial officer began talking again — this time about better branding for his company — yet another protester interrupted him about his “obsession with busting unions.”
At that point, an online audio feed for the conference was cut off.
A few minutes later, it was turned back on but then more protesters started yelling. Some in the crowd groaned. Ultimately, the audio feed was killed.
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