Labor louts disrupt Dolan cancer benefit
- By REBECCA HARSHBARGER and BILL SANDERSON
- Last Updated: 3:10 AM, December 7, 2012
- Posted: 1:20 AM, December 7, 2012
Disgruntled union workers put their fight against Cablevision over the fight against cancer at a Times Square protest last night.
About 50 members of the Communications Workers of America Local 1109 disrupted a benefit for cancer research at the Hard Rock Cafe, carrying signs and blaring music as attendees streamed in.
Cablevision CEO James Dolan, whose rock band performed at the event, told The Post that the workers’ actions are “despicable.”
“They think being disruptive for their personal gain is more important than beating pancreatic cancer,” he said. “Their values are twisted. I’m surprised at the depth of their lowness. Everyone who deals with them should take note. It’s shameful.”
The benefit was expected to raise $1.75 million for the Lustgarten Foundation, which funds pancreatic-cancer research.
The foundation is named for Cablevision exec Marc Lustgarten, who died of pancreatic cancer in 1999. Cablevision pays all the foundation’s administrative costs, and the foundation says that all the money raised last night will go to research.
The union, which is in drawn-out contract talks with Cablevision, labeled Dolan a “Grinch” for stalling negotiations with 280 company technicians and dispatchers in Brooklyn.
“He is a greedy person pretending to be philanthropist; he’s Scrooge!” barked Tim Dubnau, an organizer for Communications Workers of America Local 1109.
But event attendees said the union members picked the wrong time and place to air their grievances.
“I’m a pancreatic-cancer survivor, and it’s unfortunate that they have to protest an event like this,” said Scott Nelson, 59, who lives in Minnesota.
“The survival rate is so low. It’s one of the least-funded cancers,” Nelson said. “It’s hard to understand why people would protest an event like this.”
Cindy Dolar, of Northport, LI, added, “It’s kind of disgusting that they’re protesting an event to raise money for research on pancreatic cancer. I’m shocked. It’s in very poor taste.”
Defiant Local 1109 members couldn’t care less about what they were disrupting.
Dolan is “a philanthropist and a bully,” said Chris Calabrese, Local 1109’s executive vice president.
Dubnau added, “He’s just trying to look good in front of the community. Some workers have cancer, and don’t have health care.”
Local 1109 invited other unions to participate in the protest — but in online posts seeking support, it only called the event a concert by Dolan’s band, and omitted the fact it was a cancer research fund raiser.
Offended officials of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians withdrew from the protest when they realized the event was for charity.