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CWA Backs AT&T-Time Warner

As AT&T prepares to fight for its merger with Time Warner if necessary, it has the Communications Workers of America solidly in its corner, and against any CNN-prompted spin-off demands by the Justice Department.

The union said Tuesday (Nov. 14) that is it fully supportive of the deal.

“This merger is about maintaining and creating good U.S. jobs and developing new and innovative ways to deliver technology and content,” said CWA President Chris Shelton.  “A merged AT&T-Time Warner would provide much-needed new competition to companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon, where working people don’t have union representation.”

CWA said it was "completely opposed" to the Department of Justice, "or whoever else"--a CNN-bashing President some have suggested--insisting on a CNN or DirecTV spinoff, given that CWA has a stake in jobs at both. "This must be a decision-making process based solely on the merits of the case," Shelton said.

"This is a classic vertical merger – video content produced by Time-Warner and distributed by AT&T – that should be approved by the Department of Justice just as the Comcast NBCUniversal merger was approved in 2011," CWA said in an accompanying statement.

At a House oversight hearing Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to confirm, or deny, that Justice was seeking such a Turner (CNN) spin-off.

Given that it recently paid billions for DirecTV, the CNN OR DirecTV spin-off, if Justice was pushing that, appeared to be a false choice to some deal watchers.

Only Justice is vetting the deal, and strictly on antitrust grounds. The deal was structured to avoid an FCC public interest review, which goes beyond just whether it harms competition.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.