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AFL-CIO Backs AT&T/DirecTV

The AFL/CIO has asked the FCC to approve the AT&T/DirecTV merger, saying it is to the benefit of its 12 million members.

The union says the deal poses few antitrust concerns since the phone and satellite companies are in primarily different markets and because the result will be a stronger competitor to cable operators and putting pressure on prices and service improvement by offering one-stop shopping for bundled broadband and video.

It also helps that AT&T is the largest union employer in the country. DirecTV, by contrast, is non-union. The Communications Workers of America, which represents AT&T workers, supports the merger.

Add in improved economics for high-speed broadband deployment, the union says, and AT&T's "commitment to respecting the rights of its employees," and the union says the deal will be in the best interests of workers and consumers.

AT&T announced in May that it had agreed to acquire satellite operator DirecTV in a $48.5 billion deal creating the second-largest pay-TV operator.

In its public interest statements, AT&T said that the main reason for the meld was that they could achieve together what they could not separately: "A compelling bundle of video and broadband services" that neither company could offer individually.