A Federal Administrative Law Judge has ruled that Cablevision and its CEO James Dolan broke multiple labour laws in an attempt to stop workers in Brooklyn and the Bronx from unionising.

The union that represents the workers, the Communications Workers of America, vowed to press the City to begin a process to bring the company into compliance with its cable franchise, and if necessary declare it in default of the franchise, for violations of the labour rights provisions of the agreement. The franchise requires the company to comply with Federal labour law.

The ruling stemmed from charges that two separate NLRB regional offices authorised against the company in April 2013: in Brooklyn for illegally firing 22 workers, bargaining in bad faith, and spying on workers; and in the Bronx for illegally intimidating, harassing and essentially bribing workers during a union representation election.

"Finally the NLRB has spoken in an unprecedented 300 page decision that outlines the deliberate law-breaking of James Dolan. In any other jurisdiction he would face arrest," said Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America. "Yet based on his past behaviour Mr Dolan likely believes his personal fortune and family control of Cablevision will allow him and Cablevision to avoid any real penalties. Since the trial Jim Dolan and Cablevision have escalated their attacks on their employees and their union. The NLRB needs to take immediate action. The City and State of New York need to treat Cablevision and all Dolan family controlled entities like the major law breaker that is documented extensively in this decision."

The issue stems from Cablevision's firing of Jerome Thompson — CWA said that it was in retaliation for the comments he made about "slavery" in a private meeting conducted by the company to explain its new Optimum "branding" plans.

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