For immediate release
March 11, 2005
Company Recently Cut Off Workers Health Care
Press Conference at Madison Square Garden,
Friday, March 11, 12 noon
|WHAT:||Madison Square Garden workers speak out about Cablevision’s cutoff of their health insurance and other problems at MSG. Launch website www.FightattheGarden.info to publicize their fight vs. Cablevision.|
|WHEN:||Friday March 11, 12 noon|
|WHERE:||7th Ave. and 31st St. in front of Madison Square Garden|
|WHO:||MSG workers who serve New York ‘s sports fans|
|WHY:||As Cablevision tries to maintain its stadium monopoly, New Yorkers need to know what that means for working people.|
Workers at the Garden have been working without a contract for nearly 2 years. Last month, just three days after Cablevision made its $600 million dollar bid to develop the West Side Rail Yards, Cablevision cut off union health insurance for over two hundred Madison Square Garden workers and their families.
Holding its workers’ health insurance hostage is part of Cablevision’s attempt to force its workers to agree to changes in their contract that would cut work opportunities, health insurance and pension benefits for many long-term employees. Moreover, the company’s proposed wage increases are less than the rise in the cost of living. Many workers at Madison Square Garden earn less than $10 an hour.
“Although Cablevision claims it is blocking a West Side stadium for the sake of the average New Yorker, Cablevision hasn’t shown much concern for the many average New Yorkers they employ at the Garden” says Bill Granfield of UNITE HERE Local 100.
MSG and Cablevision ask for a lot–from sports fans and families who pay for tickets, from taxpayers (MSG pays no property taxes, a tax break that has cost the city $200 million in property taxes since it was granted in 1982) and now from those who can least afford it – its cooks, dishwashers, vendors and others. One key factor supporting the tax break was the idea that the Garden provides good jobs. But some workers at Madison Square Garden are forced to rely on public benefits to supplement their meager income, feed their families, and now to provide health insurance for themselves and their children.
The press conference coincides with the launch of a new website, www.FightattheGarden.info, which will educate the public on Cablevision’s lack of concern for New Yorkers.
UNITE HERE Local 100 represents thousands of food service workers throughout New York City. UNITE HERE is the newly merged union of hospitality, gaming, apparel, textile and laundry workers. The new union represents nearly half a million workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information, please contact Brooks Bitterman at 646-423-5811.