Cable Technology Feature Article
Supreme Court Denies Cablevision in Labor Hearing Case
By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to grant Cablevision Systems’s (News - Alert) request for a stay of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing set to begin July 8 in Manhattan.
The administrative trial will weigh the Communications Workers of America’s contention that Cablevision fired 22 workers illegally because they wanted to join the union. Cablevision was forced to rehire them after CWA (News - Alert) filed NLRB charges. If the NLRB finds that the workers were in fact fired illegally during the hearing, the technicians are entitled to back pay.
Cablevision initially sought to have the court declare that the NLRB regional offices in Brooklyn and New York had no authority, then went on to attempt to block the proceedings altogether.
Chief Justice John Roberts (News - Alert) declined the request without comment.
A federal appeals court earlier this year created uncertainty over recess appointments made by President Obama, including two members to the NLRB. The U.S. Supreme Court said it will review the federal appeals court case regarding recess appointments in its next term, but companies like Cablevision want to have the NLRB defanged in the meantime, saying that the NLRB has no authority given that the two seats are in question.
Cablevision alleges that the recess appointments have “bypassed Congress in order to stack the NLRB in favor of Big Labor.” It added that it is “confident that the D.C. Circuit Court’s final ruling on our petition will put a stop to the NLRB’s evasion of the law.”
Cablevision said the Supreme Court’s ruling ”does not address the merits of the case” and said once again that the NLRB has no authority to act in the matter, citing prior decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit and the federal appeals court for the Third Circuit.
For its part, the CWA said that Cablevision’s actions are clear evidence of why workers need a fully functional NLRB, because it’s the only agency that can enforce federal labor law for 80 million workers.
“The Senate minority and their U.S. Chamber of Commerce supporters don’t want a functional NLRB. That’s why it’s up to the Senate majority, to change the rules if necessary, so that these and other nominations can have an up or down vote,” said CWA president Larry Cohen (News - Alert).
“If this can happen in New York, there’s no labor law in America,” Cohen said. “It’s what Cablevision wants and what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants. We’re looking to the Senate Democratic majority to confirm these nominees. We don’t want to be the first generation of working Americans since 1935 to not have the protections of the NLRB.”
Edited by Ashley Caputo