CWA Calls for Tough Antitrust Look at AT&T-Discovery Deal

A screen grab from a sizzle reel for the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery
(Image credit: AT&T)

The Communications Workers of America is calling for "greater" regulatory scrutiny of the proposed AT&T spin-off of WarnerMedia assets into a new company partnership with Discovery.

The union said that the Biden Administration needs to look more seriously at the impact of the deal on jobs and wages. "For too long, regulators have had tunnel vision when it comes to anti-trust review," said CWA President Chris Shelton, pointing to what he said was AT&T's failure to live up to promises it made in its merger with Time Warner.

CWA supported that merger based on assurances the new company would not interfere with efforts to unionize its workers. "AT&T did not keep its promise to the workers," CWA said. "Instead of honoring CWA’s long standing voluntary union recognition agreement, the company launched a court battle to dodge their contractual commitments to respect workers’ organizing rights."

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At the time, Shelton also said CWA backed the merger because it would provide "much-needed" competition to Google, Facebook and Amazon, which were all non-union.

The union was also leery of AT&T's touting this week of the $3 billion in synergies the Discovery deal will produce. "Synergies are almost always another way of saying job cuts, and in the absence of union representation and collective bargaining agreements, consolidation is likely to result in lower wages across the industry as workers have fewer options for employment," said CWA.

John Eggerton

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.