New York Mayor Offers Help in Charter Strike Talks

DeBlasio points to CEO Rutledge’s compensation: ‘The resources are there’

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was willing to offer his assistance to help end the months-long strike by Charter Communications technicians in the New York metro area, adding that with a CEO who raked in $98 million in compensation in 2016 alone, there is no lack of resources to at least approach the workers’ demands.

About 1,800 Charter workers in New York and New Jersey who are members of Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers went on strike in March. Charter has claimed that it offered employees a generous package, including compensation increases and “robust” health and retirement benefits. The union has countered that the company wanst to stop contributing to workers’ pension and health plans.

On the “Mondays with the Mayor” segment on Monday night’s “Road to City Hall" program on Charter’s NY 1 network, de Blasio offered to “step in” and help move negotiations forward.

“This is a situation that has to be resolved for the good of NYC,” de Blasio said on the program. “I just want to emphasize as Mayor I am ready to step in if City Hall can provide good offices to try and resolve this matter. I very much want to. We’re talking about working people who are trying to make ends meet.” 

He added that he didn’t know anyone personally at Charter, but referred to Charter chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge’s 2016 compensation of $98.5 million, which made him the highest paid CEO for that year.

“I have to imagine the resources are there to give working people a decent contract and I hope this is something that can be resolved for everyone’s benefit,” de Blasio said.  

The IBEW said it met with Charter executives in May – the first time since workers walked off the job in March – but talks broke down after the company continued to balk at funding the union medical and pension plans. According to a report in the New York Daily News, there is also a dispute as to the time when their last union contract expired.