Spectrum is proud to deliver superior products and services like fast broadband and diverse programming to millions of customers in New York City. We’re committed to strengthening the community, offering low income families and seniors our industry-leading low cost broadband service and partnering with local organizations to open digital learning labs in neighborhoods in Harlem, Queens and Brooklyn.
Across our 41 state footprint, our central operating strategy is to provide our customers with straightforward high-value products and services delivered with superior customer service. To do so we are investing in and growing a highly trained, diverse workforce and have committed to hiring 20,000 employees by 2020. Since the Local 3 strike began six months ago, we’ve worked hard to continue to deliver the quality service our customers deserve while working aggressively to improve our operations.
Despite our efforts, deliberate acts of vandalism have caused damage to our network and on several occasions resulted in service interruptions for tens of thousands of Spectrum customers. In the last six months, we and our customers have endured more than 100 acts of vandalism to our network, like last Friday in Brooklyn. This represents a dramatic increase in acts of vandalism to our network as we experienced only four of them in the entire three years before.
Deliberate acts to harm our network have a real impact on New Yorkers-and not just on those who can’t check their email or watch a favorite show. A recent act of vandalism has cut the phone and broadband service to emergency personnel that rely on our network to protect and save us. NYU Hospital, the Office of Emergency Management, the New York Police Department, the New York City Fire Department headquarters and individual ladder companies, city agencies including the Transit Authority, Department of Energy and the Housing Authority all lost service due to the latest vandalism. Schools lost service, too, affecting how teachers help our kids learn.
While we are taking steps to ensure the security of our plant, it is very difficult to stop intentional efforts to harm our plant or equipment. The challenge is even greater when the sabotage seems intended to inflict the maximum amount of harm on the greatest number of customers. When these acts occur, we work to quickly restore service and communicate as fully as possible with our customers about those efforts. But these are real inconveniences for our customers who are rightfully frustrated by these disruptions in their service.
We are disappointed the strike by Local 3 has persisted for as long as it has. We are convinced that participation in their financially unreliable benefit plan is not in our workers best long-term interests. We hope our employees will see the value of what we have implemented in New York City: a large wage increase impacting base pay and any overtime and other pay for which they are eligible, the same medical plan enjoyed by more than 90,000 other company employees and a market leading 401(k) plan with generous matching. While we remain willing to sit down at the negotiating table with Local 3, we have taken steps that we believe are in the best interest of our employees and their long-term success while enabling us to continue to service our customers.
We are committed to continuing to work towards a solution with Local 3 that best serves our customers and our employees. But acts of vandalism that negatively impact the lives tens of thousands of New Yorkers who rely on schools, hospitals, and vital government agencies cannot be tolerated. New Yorkers deserve better than that and we will work with law enforcement and others to ensure our customers can access the communications services they value and depend on.