3:14pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Cablevision Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Labor Union
The war between Cablevision and the Communication Workers of America is well past the point of ugliness, having triggered, among other events, hijacked industry conferences and a challenge to President Barack Obama's authority. Now, throw in a defamation lawsuit.
The CWA has been contending for some time that James Dolan's company has engaged in illegal firings, bad-faith bargaining and attempts to bust the Brooklyn, New York, technicians union.
Two weeks ago, Cablevision announced that its Brooklyn technicians had voted against continued representation by the CWA.
The union responded that it was a "sham" vote in an "election [that] would make Vladimir Putin blush."
As if the situation couldn't get worse, a technician named Jerome Thompson said he was fired after comparing Cablevision's treatment of workers to slavery. The union activist also accused the company of expanding responsibilities of a colleague who called him the n-word.
In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in New York, Cablevision says that the CWA is engaged in a "deliberate effort to damage Cablevision's business reputation," and singles out "false accusations against Cablevision of racist treatment of Thompson, when they well know and knew that he had a long history of misconduct that no employer could expect to tolerate."
The complaint lays out his alleged transgressions, speaks about politicians getting involved, and reports that the CWA won't back down from the cable company's warnings to stop. According to the lawsuit, Thompson just yesterday stood outside a Cablevision store and loudly proclaimed, "Jim Dolan is a racist."