Stronger union could be key in AT&T merger


AT&T’s $49 billion plan to buy DirecTV could strengthen the company’s union, a move that is getting Democratic nods of approval on Capitol Hill.

“This transaction presents substantial opportunities for labor standards,” Rep Hank Johnson (D-GA) said in a hearing on the planned merger. “I know everybody doesn’t agree that that is something that is worthy, but I think that is very worthwhile.”

“Given the television industry’s famous reputation for opposing organized labor, this merger would have transformational benefit for thousands of employees in this industry, giving labor a strong foothold in the industry,” added Sen Johnson, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust.

AT&T currently has the largest full-time, private union in the United States with 41,000 members. If regulators allow the phone and Internet company to buy DirecTV, that option would extend to the satellite TV firm's 16,000 employees.

“We have a long history of working with our union members and collective bargaining,” AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson told lawmakers. “So with DirecTV, you should assume that DirecTV employees will be offered that same option to collectively bargain or not," he said. "That will be their choice.”

Stronger union could be key in AT&T merger