AT&T Merger: Good for Unions?

Progressives have been upset about the AT&T Merger. But as Mike Elk at The American Prospect points out, not everyone is horrified by the news. Some union workers have actually been advocating for it, because the merger contains provisions that help them out, he explains:

However, one progressive group cheered the merger: the Communication Workers of America, a labor union whose more than 500,000 members include 150,000 AT&T employees.

"[Union members] in the U.S. will welcome this news since of all the possible partners, AT&T will mean better employment security and a management record of full neutrality toward union membership and a bargaining voice," CWA President Larry Cohen said in a statement shortly after the merger was announced. "For T-Mobile USA workers who want a voice in their workplace, this acquisition can provide a fresh start with T-Mobile management."

For over a decade, CWA has been trying to organize T-Mobile's 26,000 workers. (The American Prospect covered CWA's organizing campaign back in our November issue.) However, CWA alleges that T-Mobile has engaged in heavy-handed anti-union intimidation tactics that have prevented workers from joining a union.

This is an interesting juxtaposition of interests--consumer advocates versus union workers at some of the biggest mobile phone and internet conglomerates in the country.  Mergers like this one, while sometimes not wonderful for consumers, can give bargaining leverage to unions.

Read the full piece here.


AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at March 23, 2011, 7:52am

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