WIN Special Report: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in NYC: “They won’t injure Local 3 without taking all of us on!”
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was among the thousands rallying in New York Monday in support of nearly two thousand electrical workers on strike against telecommunications giant Charter Communications since March of this year. Dozens of other unions and community groups joined International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3 Monday afternoon for a massive march and rally. Negotiations stalled in March over the company’s refusal to make any offers unless the workers give up their union pension and health care plans.
Here are Trumka’s comments:
[Richard Trumka]: “I got to tell you, it’s great to be here today. And I want you to know I deliver one message: that the AFL-CIO and the entire labor movement has your back today, tomorrow and for as long as it takes to win a contract here.
Look, your hard work has made Charter Spectrum one of the most profitable cable companies in the United States. Three point five billion dollars they made last year. You did that. Local 3 members did that. You made that company profitable and no one else did.
And look, you aren’t asking for the world. You want a fair return for the work that you do. You want good wages. You want decent retirement and you want some quality decent health care. You want to provide for your families and enjoy some of the good things in life. Well, I gotta tell you, that’s not too much to ask for. So where the hell is the company? You see, I have a message for Tom Rutledge: get to the table today and negotiate a contract and put the best workers that you’ll ever see back on the job. You know what? Tom took home almost a hundred million dollars last year. That’s more than 2,500 times what the average worker makes. And it’s twelve dollars a second. Think about that. In the time it takes to sneeze, Tom makes a couple of hundred bucks. Look, we don’t begrudge CEOs that do well, but we begrudge CEOs that do well and then ask us to pay more for our health care and our retirement. We begrudge CEOs that do well and then try to strip our job security and overtime pay away. We begrudge CEOs that do well and then say, “I got mine, but I want a piece of yours.” We got words for him: he’s not getting it! We want a fair deal here.
You see, what he did’s not right, and it’s not fair, and will continue to exercise our right to strike until the company gives us a fair piece of the pie. Now, IBEW has a long and proud history of partnering with employers to the benefit of business and labor. Your relationship with Time Warner spans decades. Cooperation is one thing; retreat is another. And we will not retreat in the face of corporate greed!
You see, I’m proud of my brothers and sisters at local three, every one of them, for going on strike, because it takes guts and it’s a tremendous sacrifice. And I’m encouraged by all the unions and other groups that are out here today, public and private, big and small, standing together, fighting together, winning together! You see, right here, this is what solidarity’s all about, and we’re gonna stand together, arm and arm, for as long as it takes to win a contract here! We’re the labor movement and no one pushes us around! No one! United we stand, divided we fall! An injury to one is an injury to all! They won’t injure Local 3 without taking all of us on! God bless you! Keep up the fight!”