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Cablevision Shareholders Removed by Police at Annual Meeting

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Cablevision Systems Corp., the fifth-largest U.S. cable company, asked police to remove people from its annual meeting today after shareholders protested the company’s union pay policies.

About 30 minutes into the meeting, a shareholder accused Chief Executive Officer James Dolan of paying bribes and illegally firing 22 technicians in Brooklyn, New York. Following a back-and-forth exchange with Dolan, the Cablevision CEO repeatedly asked the person to leave.

When the man refused, Dolan called for the police. The protester was joined by at least four others who began yelling at Dolan to pay union workers the same rate as nonunion employees. The National Labor Relations Board has been investigating Cablevision’s labor practices amid complaints from the Communications Workers of America, which represents unionized employees at the company.

“I’m not making this meeting a meeting about the CWA,” Dolan said, raising his voice over the protesters. “That’s enough on that subject. I’m going to ask you all to leave. Do we have the police here? Please bring in the police. Please escort these people out. I sure hope they’re going to be here soon.”

At least five shareholders were removed from the meeting. After the event, the CWA said it has “recently entered into closed-door negotiations with Cablevision” to end their yearlong labor despite, according a statement. Cablevision has almost 3 million video subscribers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“It is a shareholder meeting with a clear set of rules,” said Kelly McAndrew, a spokeswoman for the Bethpage, New York-based company. “The CWA attempted to disrupt the meeting; they were asked to refrain and when they did not they were asked to leave. The matter is now in the hands of the authorities.”

Cablevision shares rose 0.7 percent to $15.45 at the close in New York. The stock has gained 3.4 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Sherman in New York at asherman6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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