Keeping things running


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GRAYING NEW YORK

BY MARCIA EPSTEIN

For over five months, I’ve been seeing striking workers from Spectrum (picketing in front of the Spectrum store on Broadway and 96th Street). I’ve spoken to these men and women and I am personally horrified by their stories. About 1,700 workers from the International Brotherhood of Electricians/Local 3 have been on strike since March.

These are the guys that keep things up and running, often with old and outdated equipment. They are the heart of what keeps your TV and internet service. Spectrum promised unobtainable WiFi speeds and other services, and they are not only not delivering, they have alienated their workers, left them little choice but to walk the picket line, fight for their futures and that of their families.

The workers say their fight is over eliminating contributions to workers’ pensions, wages, benefits and medical plans. While offered a raise, the workers understandably preferred to keep their benefits. In my own area, we have had three outages in the past month. I was frustrated for myself, but more for the workers whose job it is to see that these things don’t happen. Spectrum is using replacement workers to do the jobs the regular workers did, though of course they call them sub-contractors. All in all, I am disgusted by the treatment of these union workers and my stomach sinks every time I see them still picketing in my neighborhood. My partner, John, was part of several Verizon strikes way back when, and this kind of thing just gets us where we live. I told some of the men I spoke with I’d write about it, and I’m keeping my promise. Good luck guys!

Last week was birthday week. Mine! You’d have to hang me by my toenails to get me to tell my age, but suffice it to say, I am a certified senior citizen. First, I had my annual birthday lunch with a friend who was born 3 days and 7 years before me. She told me how young I was. I told her that I’d eat lunch with her any time. We’ve been doing this for more years than I can count, and now she has to come down from her retirement village in northern New Jersey. It’s always great to see her.

Last Friday, another friend took me out for our annual celebration. I take her out in March, and she reciprocates in August. We had a fine Italian meal at Bella Luna and our usual good, long chat. The next day, my entire family celebrated at a lovely restaurant in Chelsea. It’s always wonderful to have the entire family together. The kids are now 6, 8, 9, and 13. My “kids” are in their 40s but still and always my kids. And so that’s that for this year. Onward and upwards to fall, my favorite time of the year. When my birthday comes, I know that soon it will be time for gorgeous leaves and cider and apple donuts at the farm stand near Middletown. Happy Birthday to all Leos. We are the fierce lions of the zodiac.





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