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IBEW Backs AT&T/Time Warner Deal

The 750,000-strong brothers (and sisters) of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) is backing the proposed AT&T/Time Warner merger, calling it pro-consumer and pro-worker.

That is according to a letter to Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Michael Lee and ranking member Amy Klobuchar obatined by Broadcasting & Cable and being sent on the eve of the senators' oversight hearing on the deal.

"AT&T has a history of business practices that emphasize integrity and respect for its employees and consumers like," wrote IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson, saying it was on behalf of his members.

Related: Stephenson—AT&T-Time Warner Would Be Disruptive Cable Competitor

He said that at a time when wages for many workers are stagnant, AT&T's "commitment to respecting its employees' right to come together on the job to promote fair wages and family-friendly benefits is the right direction for our economy and nation.

Stephenson said there were many examples of AT&T's commitment, no more so than its DirecTV purchase and the choice in video and high-speed internet service it created.

Related: IBEW Ratifies contracts for Former DirecTV Employees.

"The AT&T-Time Warner transaction would represent another step forward for the telecommunications and broadcast industries," he told the powerful senators.

Critics have raised competition issues, but Stephenson didn't see it that way. "By bringing together companies in two separate markets," he said, "it will do so without creating the traditional risks to 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.