Spectrum strike: Second year in workers’ war with banks

first_imgNew York/New Jersey workers have been on strike against Spectrum/Charter since March 28, 2017.It has now been over a year since 1,800 members of International Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3 went on strike against cable monopoly Spectrum/Charter in the New York City/New Jersey area.Strikes against utility companies are often long struggles, even when it’s the largest strike in the country, as was #SpectrumStrike at one time. Strikers can stop repairs, but they can’t stop the automated production. This strike has its own unique conditions, leading to the persistence of Spectrum/Charter trying to break the workers and their union. To understand, we need to get into the economics around the recent takeover of Time Warner by Spectrum/Charter.In 2015, Spectrum/Charter gobbled up Time Warner and became the second largest cable provider in the U.S. Mergers like this have reached gargantuan proportions — so much so that one individual company alone doesn’t have the money on hand to actually purchase another company as big as Time Warner.Even Spectrum/Charter needs help — which must be be gotten from Big Banking. But taking money from the banks comes with a catch — a catch that Lenin described over 100 years ago in his popular pamphlet of 1916, “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.” The lesson that still applies is quite simple: The banks become the boss — what Lenin called the “finance capitalist.”The banks only lend out billions of dollars if they know they are going to get something in return. So when Charter/Spectrum took on $27 billion in debt to finance the purchase of Time Warner, the company effectively handed ­decision-making over to their lenders.The banks push to eliminate worker benefits and bust unions. Attacking the workers is the same tactic all bosses use to extract more profits from a company. But the banks are more vicious and unrelenting because they can afford to be. They do, after all, hold the entire bourgeoisie’s wealth in their coffers.Despite a year of its workers striking, Charter/Spectrum — backed by a large segment of the finance capitalist class, including such big names as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse — still refuses to bargain with IBEW Local 3.It is a tribute to the power of IBEW and the loyalty of its members that the union has held out for over a year during this onslaught by the financial capitalist class.Workers are doing everything they can to continue the strike, but there is a financial toll. The local is digging deep into the pockets of its strike fund, paying striking workers $350 a week. But once workers use up their personal savings, that fund doesn’t cover basic expenses. In the last few months, some workers have reported difficulties paying rent, and they’ve turned to borrowing from friends to get by, in hopes that the struggle will soon end.These are the conditions that have turned the #SpectrumStrike from a struggle between workers and one boss into a titanic struggle between one of the country’s most powerful unions and the entire financial capitalist system.With a new wave of labor militancy rising from West Virginia’s education workers, raising class consciousness across the country, what can militants do to help IBEW Local 3 win? West Virginia showed that it took more than the teachers and support staff to win. Solidarity was the key, as students, parents and other unions all came out in force to show support.Spectrum currently services 25 million customers in the U.S., potentially a huge base of support for the #SpectrumStrike. If enough people refuse to pay for their service or transfer their service to another company, the banks will get the message, and tell the company to back off.Solidarity between consumers and workers is already organically there. Since the merger, Charter/Spectrum, besides slashing worker benefits, has jacked up its prices to pay off its debt. As a monopoly, it can afford this, since in many cases the company is the only cable provider in an area.The Charter/Spectrum local monopoly also creates a potential fightback strategy. What if militants in New York City, for instance, pushed the city council to revoke Spectrum’s franchise? Of course, a general strike or even smaller solidarity strikes in key industries could always tip the balance in the favor of the workers!These are all potential tactics to help the #SpectrumStrike. Whatever form this strike takes going forward, it’s clear that to win, we must fight together.It should be stressed that we all stand to benefit if IBEW Local 3 wins.Since 1916, when Lenin first diagnosed the rise of finance capital, the rule of the banks has only spread and deepened. The #SpectrumStrike is but one battle in this global war of the banks against the people.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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11 months to go! Client Money Protection legislation enters parliament

first_imgLegislation to make Client Money Protection (CMP) mandatory for all estate agents in England has been introduced to parliament following lengthy pre-legislative scrutiny, and will go live before the Tenant Fees Bill.The soon-to-be implemented CMP regulations have been hailed as the most important piece of tenant protection legislation to be introduced to date by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), which has been lobbying hard for CMP to be made compulsory.The regulations are unlikely to face serious opposition within parliament, which means agents have just under a year to sign up to an approved Client Money Protection scheme.“After a long fight, ARLA Propertymark’s campaign for mandatory Client Money Protection (CMP) is finally won,” says David Cox, ARLA’s Chief Executive (pictured).“With the help of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, and cross-party consensus in the House of Lords, this is a vital step forward in improving consumer protection in the rental sector; probably more so than the myriad of other laws passed over the last two decades.“We look forward to working with the Government to guarantee that the level playing field we’ve fought so hard to create becomes a reality on the 1st April next year.”The increased enthusiasm to fix England’s ‘broken’ housing market has been a key element in the relatively rapid introduction of the new legislation, which during the Cameron years was but on the back burner, and an e-petition only garnered a few thousand signatures.Read more about Client Money Protection.ARLA Association of Residential Letting Agents client money protection CMP David Cox May 4, 2018Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » 11 months to go! Client Money Protection legislation enters parliament previous nextRegulation & Law11 months to go! Client Money Protection legislation enters parliamentGovernment says new CMP law now likely to go live before Tenant Fees Bill, giving agents less than a year to get ready.Nigel Lewis4th May 201802,041 Viewslast_img read more

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Saints emails, lawsuits could be buried in church bankruptcy

first_img“Clearly this is a focused effort to conceal the documents,” he said.Manley said attempts to keep the lawsuits alive are longshots because bankruptcy courts generally don’t want debtors to continue with legal action that may force them to spend more money.But Mike Finnegan, an attorney with Minnesota-based Jeff Anderson & Associates, said the bankruptcy filing pushes the fight to air the church records into the bankruptcy court, where the documents could be released after a lengthy process, possibly as a condition of a bankruptcy settlement.“There are so many people involved, and this is so important for the public and survivors, that the fight will continue,” he said. “I believe those documents will see the light of day, but it will be delayed by the bankruptcy process.”New Orleans’ bankruptcy reflects a strategy the church has pursued in other jurisdictions to simply “come up with a settlement and move on,” said Kevin T. Stocker, an attorney who sued the church in Buffalo, New York, before it recently declared bankruptcy. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditA bankruptcy filing by New Orleans’ Roman Catholic archdiocese freezes sexual abuse lawsuits and could help bury the details of alleged coverups of predator priests and thousands of internal emails documenting a behind-the-scenes alliance with the New Orleans Saints. Attorneys for those suing the church attacked last week’s Chapter 11 filing as a veiled attempt to keep church records secret, scrap a long-awaited legal deposition by Archbishop Gregory Aymond and deny victims a public reckoning that had been years in the making.“Those victims were on the path to the truth,” attorney Soren Gisleson wrote in court papers. “The rape of children is a thief that keeps on stealing.” In previous court filings, they drew a direct parallel to the successful effort by The Boston Globe nearly 20 years ago to overturn a confidentiality order protecting documents produced during lawsuits filed by victims of Geoghan.That led to the resignation of the late Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who covered up for Geoghan’s abuses with the knowledge of five auxiliary bishops, including Alfred C. Hughes, who preceded Aymond as archbishop of New Orleans.“The public, media and law enforcement have no idea of the depth of Hecker’s disgusting crimes against children or the Archdiocese’s equally disgusting suppression of those crimes,” the filing alleges.But whether any of the dozens of clergy abuse lawsuits against the archdiocese will see the light of day is an open question.John C. Manly, an attorney who has represented clergy abuse victims through more than a dozen bankruptcy filings, said “it’s highly unlikely” the men suing the archdiocese will succeed in airing internal church records. May 5, 2020 Associated Press The New Orleans archdiocese is the latest of more than 20 dioceses nationwide to declare bankruptcy, an action Aymond attributed to a “resurgence of the clergy abuse crisis” and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million deepened by the coronavirus pandemic. He said the filing would allow victims to be compensated directly through a “court-supervised process.”“There is not one single event or issue that prompted this filing,” the archbishop said in a video to parishioners. Attorneys for the men suing the church have already accused the archdiocese of understating the value of its total assets at also between $100 and $500 million. They cited an insurance declaration covering $2.1 billion in damages, adding the archdiocese “makes no attempt to explain this discrepancy” in court filings. An archdiocese spokeswoman declined to comment Tuesday. Aymond had been scheduled to give a deposition later this month in the Hecker case. Lawyers for Hecker’s alleged victims say they uncovered hundreds of incriminating records in discovery and still want a judge to make them public regardless of the bankruptcy. Saints emails, lawsuits could be buried in church bankruptcy “They don’t want this story out,” Stocker said. “It’s so ugly that they knew what was going on. They’re trying to control their brand and image.” ____Mustian and Rezendes reported from New York.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 Among the most explosive legal fights now in disarray is a lawsuit alleging Aymond and his three predecessors systematically concealed the crimes of the Rev. Lawrence Hecker, an 88-year-old priest removed from active ministry in 2002 after accusations that he abused “countless children.”A recent court motion drew direct parallels between the church’s handling of Hecker and John Geoghan, a serial pedophile who molested scores of children during his 30-year career as a Massachusetts clergyman.The bankruptcy also freezes a court battle over a cache of confidential emails describing the behind-the-scenes public relations work New Orleans Saints executives did for the archdiocese in 2018 and 2019 to contain fallout from clergy abuse scandals. While the Saints say they only assisted in messaging, attorneys for the men suing the church allege Saints officials joined in the church’s “pattern and practice of concealing its crimes.” The attorneys contend that included taking an active role in helping to shape the archdiocese’s list of 57 credibly accused clergy, a roster an Associated Press analysis found was undercounted by at least 20 names.AP, which has sought the release of the emails as a matter of public interest, said in court papers last week that it remains unclear why secrecy is warranted for “two high-profile and quasi-public institutions like the Saints and the Archdiocese.”last_img read more

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Seahawks star makes big play, talks bigger

first_imgSeattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman celebrates after the NFL football NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 23-17 to advance to Super Bowl XLVIII. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)SEATTLE (AP) — When Richard Sherman gave Michael Crabtree a pat on the backside, got shoved in the face and made a choke sign toward the San Francisco bench, he was just getting warmed up.Get ready for two more weeks of the unfiltered Sherman with the Seattle Seahawks headed to the Super Bowl.“I hadn’t gotten many opportunities all game and I’m happy. I’m happy about that,” Sherman said. ” I’m sure if our team knew it was going to come down to a play like that they would be pretty confident going into it.”Sherman stole the attention on Sunday, first by deflecting a pass intended for Crabtree in the corner of the end zone with less than a minute left, right into the arms of Seattle teammate Malcolm Smith to seal the Seahawks’ 23-17 win.But then came the antics and Sherman’s words that revealed a deep dislike for Crabtree and satisfaction in Seattle knocking off its division rivals to reach the Super Bowl.While Smith was celebrating the interception, Sherman exchanged words with Crabtree, got shoved in the face as a rebuttal then made a choking gesture toward the San Francisco bench that he said was intended for quarterback Colin Kaepernick.Asked about the incident afterward by Fox reporter Erin Andrews, Sherman lit up Twitter with a rant that began: “I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get. Don’t you ever talk about me!”Sherman didn’t back down even after getting some time to collect his thoughts. He apologized to Andrews, then proceeded to call Crabtree “mediocre,” making sure to annunciate each syllable of the word.“I was making sure everybody knew Crabtree was a mediocre receiver,” Sherman said. “And when you try the best corner in the game with a mediocre receiver that’s what happens.”It was a fiery, emotional rant from Sherman, who celebrated his first conference title by racing around the field after Russell Wilson took the final knee, then leaping into the first row of seats in the south end zone to celebrate with fans.“I know how passionate he is about the game of football. He said to me before the game it’s going to come down to us making big plays. We’ve got to do it. Somehow we’ve got to find a way to make big plays,” said teammate Doug Baldwin. “(Sherman) has been doing it all season. He is arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. They were trying to stay away from him the whole game. Eventually they were going to have to go his way and eventually they did and they made a mistake.”Sherman was rarely targeted by San Francisco, with most of the throws going toward Sherman’s teammate Byron Maxwell. But when Kaepernick had to make a throw in the final seconds, he decided to challenge the All-Pro.Sherman stayed with Crabtree, leaped and batted the ball into the air with his left hand. That allowed Smith to run underneath and make the interception that clinched the victory. It was San Francisco’s third turnover in the fourth quarter.“I knew if I tipped it high enough someone would get there,” Sherman said.Sherman then ran over to Crabtree and gave him a pat on the backside, then appeared to extend his arm for a handshake. Instead, Sherman got shoved in the face before picking up his personal foul as his celebration continued.“Sherman made a good play. That’s probably the only play he made all game,” Crabtree said. “I ain’t getting into that, he knows what time it is. When we’re on the field, he ain’t doing nothin’. That’s one play, you know what I’m saying? … He’s a TV guy, I’m not a TV guy. I play ball.”Sherman said his issues with Crabtree go back to something that happened during the offseason. He would not go into detail about what happened.“He said something personal face to face,” Sherman said. “He knows what he said and he knows I’m going to be tough on him the rest of his career.”___AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.orglast_img read more

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