D'Anthony Johnson, a member of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3, urged residents to cancel their contracts with Spectrum, which is owned by Charter. He also encouraged residents to tell their family and friends to switch services as well.
Like nearly 1,800 others, Johnson has been on strike for ten months, which he deemed “unheard of in the city.” He has spent his time doing odd jobs here and there, but the strike has placed a financial burden on him. He’s had to move into his sister’s apartment to make ends meet and has lost his car.
“The CEO of communications for Charter doesn’t care about the people,” Johnson said.
He added that the company is trying to take away the benefits that “workers have been working for for years.”
Charter’s benefits package sought to remove contributions to their employees’ pensions and medical plans. Although the two sides have met several times, they haven’t come to an agreement.
“These benefits have saved a lot for so many of our children," Johnson said. "They're trying to take all this stuff from us.
“We are in a fight to keep what’s rightfully ours, our benefits,” he added. “We need to stop the trend of these companies, where everything is about turning a dollar profit and short-changing its customers and workers. Without its customers and workers, this company wouldn’t be anything.”
Although he isn’t from the area, Johnson said he came to the Community Board 6 meeting to clear the names of the striking workers. Last year, wires were cut causing a massive outage in the Forest Hills and Rego Park area.
He said that though Charter and residents have accused striking employees, the outages were probably caused by “the scabs that they have working.”
Members of Community Board 6 offered their support to Johnson and his peers. Chairman Joe Hennessy shook hands with Johnson following his presentation, sharing his own experiences of picketing years ago.
"It's a very tough time for unions, the atmosphere is not good," Hennessy said. "I know what it's like and I hope you are successful."