‘Greetings, sisters and brothers of Local 802’

Musicians and cable techs are up against the same boss

Volume 112, No. 10October, 2012

Jerome Thompson

Greetings Sisters and brothers of Local 802! Like many of you, I am employed by James Dolan, the owner of Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden. Although I am not a member of Local 802, we have a lot in common.

I am a Cablevision technician in Brooklyn. In January, a majority of my coworkers voted to join the Communications Workers of America. We overcame a vicous, nasty, brutal anti-union campaign. Dolan hired the notorious union-busting law firm of Jackson & Lewis. We were subjected to almost daily forced anti-union meetings. We were threatened, we were told that our union was corrupt, violent and would force us to strike.

(After our win, we helped put together a new Web site on what the antiunion campaign looks like. You can go to for more information.)

But despite near-constant pressure to vote no, we overcame fear and voted yes to gain a voice on the job. We had had enough. It was a beautiful feeling the night we won our union election. We looked forward to sitting down across the table and bargaining for a fair contract that provided for a living wage and a safer workplace.

As many Local 802 members know, bargaining with Dolan isn’t so simple. I am sure it won’t be a surprise to you that since we have begun bargaining, management hasn’t offered us one penny more in salary, and has refused to even address our concerns over safety issues.

To make matters worse, James Dolan himself has decided to punish us for daring to gain a voice on the job. Several months ago, Dolan gave every single technician in the tri-state area an unprecedented raise, except the techs who are CWA members.

Rather than give up, our union will soon be ramping up the pressure on Cablevision and on Dolan. We have reached out to Local 802, and we are grateful for the support of your president, Tino Gagliardi, who has pledged to help our campaign.

In the coming weeks, we will begin to educate patrons of Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre, and other venues on our struggle. We are also reaching out to all the acts going in to Dolan’s venues.

Our union will soon be beaming Google ads at customers purchasing tickets to “The Grinch,” the Christmas Spectacular and other acts coming into a Dolan venue in New York.

We plan on being a big presence in front of many of Dolan’s venues. If our dispute escalates, we may take a more militant posture. But for now, we thank Local 802 for your support.

If you are a musician playing at Radio City Music Hall, or if you are a side musician in an act coming to a Dolan venue, we would love to give you a sticker supporting our campaign.

To get a sticker, e-mail or stop by the Local 802 Organizing Department on the fourth floor of the Local 802 building.

And if you see us outside your venue, stop by and say hi. For more information on our campaign for justice, visit us at


Since CWA won the election to represent Cablevision techs in Brooklyn, a movement has begun among Cablevision contractors as well. In the past six months, two cablevision contractors – Falcon Data Com and Vision Pro – have joined CWA, and another contractor, Corbel, has joined the IBEW. Even in this anti-worker climate, it is possible to increase union density to build power for workers in specific industries.