Fundraising & Unions

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Thurs' annual Rock & Roll Bash, presented by Cablevision, AMC Nets and The Madison Square Garden Company, raised more than $1.75mln for The Lustgarten Foundation's fight against pancreatic cancer, according to organizers. Since the Foundation is underwritten by CVC, 100% of the funds raised will go toward research, they said. This is the 12th year for the event, which raised an all-time high. More than 1300 attended, with CVC CEO Jim Dolan's band JD & The Straight Shot performing. Outside were some CWA union protesters, reportedly about 18. Cablevision called it a “shameful attempt to disrupt” the fundraiser. Organizing Coordinator Tim Dubnau said CWA fully supports Lustgarten's work and “we never attempted to 'disrupt' the event.” Protesters handed out flyers that said they support Cablevision's work for curing pancreatic cancer, but complained that Dolan “acts much more like Ebenezer Scrooge to his hard working employees,” saying many “lack decent health benefits.” “What happens when a Cablevision employee who lacks affordable health care suffers from Pancreatic Cancer? Where is James Dolan then?” said the flyer. CWA represents a small number of employees at 1 Cablevision facility in Brooklyn. The union claims those employees haven't received the same improvements in health coverage as non-union techs in the tri-state area. Health benefits along with pay are subject to the bargaining process that is ongoing between management and the union. In late June, Cablevision technicians in the Bronx voted 123-41 against joining the CWA union. “This benefit was about curing pancreatic cancer. For the CWA union to interfere with this important effort is a new low for a union that has already tried to exploit Hurricane Sandy, intimidate employees and mislead other unions. It is deeply offensive to not only Cablevision employees and customers, but also to cancer sufferers and their families,” CVC said. CWA's statement: “CWA applauds Cablevision for supporting a cancer charity, as our flyer last night made clear. Dolan should spend more time bargaining with his employees and improving internet speeds rather than make the outrageous claim that CWA doesn't support cancer research.”

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