“We are going to stand shoulder to shoulder with the working men and women of this state. Your fight is our fight. Until you win, none of us wins. And we pledge to you today to stand united. Because workers united will never be defeated.”
A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:
Thank you. Thank you. Do we have labor in the house today? Is labor fired up? Give Chris Erikson a big round of applause. I may not be able to plug in an extension cord, but today I became a member of Local 3. We are all here in solidarity with you. Mario Cilento and the whole AFL-CIO is in solidarity with you. Peter Ward and the HTC, 1199, DC 37, the CWA, the Building Trades, they’re all here with you. And the government of the State and the City of New York is here. Carl Heastie from the New York State Assembly. Diane Savino and Liz Krueger from the State Senate. We have justice in the house with the next Attorney General Tish James. We have the New York City Council.
Now I am an old Queens boy, if you can’t tell from the accent. And I learned from one of the giants, Harry Van Arsdale. And Harry Van Arsdale taught me that the labor movement is about two things. It’s about fairness and it’s about respect. And that’s what we’re saying to Charter Spectrum and every corporation in this state. You have to show the workforce fairness and respect. That means fair pay. It means fair pensions, fair benefits, fair work rules and respect for the workforce.
And what Charter Spectrum has done is a gross injustice. They have abused the workers. Now this is a corporation that is making plenty and plenty of money, my friends. The CEO in 2016 made $100 million. The COO of Charter Spectrum, $50 million. The company made $15 billion. How dare you abuse the hardworking men and women that built that company and put the money in your pocket?
And my friends, Charter Spectrum didn’t just mistreat you and lie to you. Charter Spectrum lied to the people of the State of New York. Because Chris Erikson is exactly right. They got a franchise agreement from the state and they promised to do certain things. They promised to keep the customer-friendly workforce that was trained and they turned around and they kicked you to the street. They promised to serve underserved households and the state of New York has fined them and we want to fine them $20 million for violating that agreement.
And Charter Spectrum has a news organization that they own and they run, right? You want to know what’s interesting about their news organization? It has a very selective memory, their news organization. You know what their news organization never covered? The fact that the state of New York is trying to take away their franchise and kick them out of New York. You know what their news organization failed to cover? The fact that 2,000 Local 3 members were kicked to the street and they’re rallying for two years for fairness and decency.
Look, this is not just about Charter Spectrum, they’re just one of the worst examples. What’s happening in this country is there’s more and more corporate power and they’re trying to abuse workers. It’s happening all across the board. It’s happening all across the nation. But we’re saying it’s not going to happen in the state of New York. We know it’s the labor movement that built the middle class. It’s the labor movement that represents the hardworking men and women. It’s the labor movement that built the state of New York. It’s the labor movement that built the United States of America.
And we are going to stand shoulder to shoulder with the working men and women of this state. Your fight is our fight. Until you win, none of us wins. And we pledge to you today to stand united. Because workers united will never be defeated! Workers united will never be defeated! Workers united will never be defeated! Workers united will never be defeated! Go get ’em!