Despite accelerated efforts by union representatives and growing uncertainty regarding plans to move technicians to a separate company, Altice USA employees voted overwhelmingly against representation last week.
Employees at Altice USA’s Piscataway, N.J., facility voted 53-43 against representation from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. At the Bronx, N.Y., location, Altice workers voted down efforts to organize by the Communications Workers of America by 113 to 92. It was the second time since 2012 that the CWA tried to organize the Bronx location.
Union reps had been encouraged that they had a chance to successfully organize the Altice USA operations after the cable company announced plans to create Altice Technical Services USA, a separate company that would house all of its field service, construction & fiber, design, outside plant maintenance, inside plant and field-based employees serving commercial accounts. Some workers feared ATS would allow Altice USA to fire workers at will, while the company said it was an attempt to offer better training and opportunity for employees.
For Altice USA, this was the fourth time that it has successfully pushed backed unionization efforts at its Optimum division facilities since it closed on its deal to acquire Cablevision Systems in June. Aside from the Piscataway and Bronx wins, petitions by the IBEW to organize workers in Newark, N.J. were withdrawn, as was a petition by the CWA to represent workers in Brooklyn it doesn’t already represent. CWA has about 300 union members in the Brooklyn location.
Altice USA executives have been making the rounds to employee locations to talk about the ATS transition, including CEO Dexter Goei, head of Optimum operations Pragash Pillai, chief financial officer Charles Stewart, chief operating officer Hakim Boubazine and human resources and other executives. Altice USA said that no employees have made the transition to ATS yet. Earlier, Altice USA said it expects to have its entire field service force transitioned to the new company in about five years.