The people who work in the communications industries.

A labor movement is brewing within the tech industry

As Silicon Valley is increasingly bifurcated into haves and have-nots, labor rights activists are becoming more vocal about the need for these tech companies to “make the world a better place” for the tens of thousands of low-wage contract laborers that make it possible for technology companies to function. The situation among Silicon Valley’s low-wage contract workers has become so perilous that in January, thousands of security guards working at immensely profitable companies like Facebook and Cisco followed the shuttle-bus drivers and voted to unionize in an effort to collectively bargain for higher wages and better benefits. The upcoming labor contract negotiations between the roughly 3,000 security guards (represented by SEIU United Service Workers West) and their employers is one of the biggest developments in Silicon Valley labor organizing to happen in 2017.

“Regulatory Revival” and Employment in Telecommunications

Empirical research demonstrates that the Obama Administration’s aggressive regulatory agenda at the Federal Communications Commission reduced investment in the telecommunications sector between $20 and $40 billion annually, robbing the nation of a boom in network expansion the public wants and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act mandates.

As there is a direct relationship between network investment and jobs, the next logical question to ask is how this reduced network investment affected employment in the telecommunications sector. Using standard economic techniques and publicly-available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ford finds that over the period 2010-2016, the telecommunications sector lost approximately 100,000 jobs per year—many of them high-paying union jobs. This loss is the pay-equivalent of about 130,000 “average” US jobs.

When Trump got elected, TV writers found new purpose

After the election of Donald Trump, "House of Cards" creator Beau Willimon had to dramatically shift his view of what the future looked like in his next work fiction. Willimon had been developing and conceiving his next show, "The First" for Hulu, for two years at that point. The series, abut the first human mission to Mars, is set 15-20 years in the future. After November 2016, he said, he knew the world in which his show was set had to be very different that what he had initially imagined.

Millennials Stand to Lose if the Feds Control the Internet

[Commentary] Since assuming leadership of the Federal Communications Commission earlier in 2017, Ajit Pai has been working to roll back the stifling Obama-era rules to return the power of the internet back to consumers and the public. This will benefit everybody, but this is particularly personal for millennials and young consumers who have grown up online and are driving much of the innovation that we see in Silicon Valley. Tumblr, Mashable and Snapchat are just a handful of the many tech companies that millennials have helped start that are changing the way we live. But if bureaucrats and special interest groups have their way, the government will control the internet and pick winners and losers.

Younger consumers want a better, faster, cheaper internet – and a one-size-fits-all regulation that reflects the world of the 1930s is not the answer.

[David Barnes is the policy director of Generation Opportunity.]

Communications Workers of America Calls for $100B Broadband Infrastructure Investment

With President Donald Trump emphasizing his infrastructure revamp proposal, the Communications Workers of America wants Congress to emphasize broadband investment in any plan it approves. That came in a letter to the leadership, Republican and Democrat, of the House and Senate Commerce Committees.

CWA says any broadband infrastructure bill should: 1) direct $40 billion in funding to unserved communities; 2) change the tax laws to accelerate depreciation for broadband capital expenditures; 3) direct $10 billion to the Federal Communications Commission 's E-rate fund for high-speed broadband to schools and libraries; and 4) supplement the FCC's Lifeline subsidy (basic telecom for those who need help affording it) with a $100 tax credit per year on the purchase of broadband by low-income families (less than $35,000 per year).

What dismantling net neutrality means for small and mid-sized businesses

[Commentary] Few think about the implications of network neutrality outside of affecting the speed at which one can browse the internet; however, it also influences what you can watch and the online content you can view. Net neutrality is what allows us the freedom to peruse the internet and disseminate content without interference.

Besides affecting personal use, the fate of net neutrality also has a bearing on businesses -- particularly small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Without net neutrality, companies like Netflix would probably be charged an exorbitant amount due to the amount of data needed to stream video at their current speed. These upcharges would then be passed down to the customer. Without net neutrality, you can even expect currently free platforms like YouTube to enact charges or impose more ads. Net neutrality is crucial for the survival of SMBs: without it, the recent bloom of entrepreneurship and startup culture would shrivel up and die. They rely on open internet to, among other things, launch their businesses, advertise, build a community and build a customer base.

The latest NSA leak is a reminder that your bosses can see your every move

It took just days for authorities to arrest and charge a federal contractor with leaking classified intelligence to the media. Court documents explain in detail how the 25-year-old woman suspected in the leak, Reality Leigh Winner, allegedly printed off a copy of a National Security Agency report on Russian tampering in the US elections and mailed it to a news outlet. What helped federal authorities link Winner to the leak were unrelated personal e-mails she had sent to the Intercept news site weeks before, which surfaced when investigators searched her computer. But how were officials able to gain access to her personal accounts? The answer, according to some former National Security Agency analysts, is that the agency routinely monitors many of its employees' computer activity. The case offers a reminder that virtually every American worker in today's economy can be tracked and reported — and you don't even have to be the NSA to pull it off.

With Verizon-CWA Copper Settlement, Union Forces Verizon’s Landline Hand

A complaint filed with the Pennsylvania public utilities commission has driven a Verizon-Communications Workers of America copper settlement involving maintenance of the company’s traditional landline network infrastructure. Verizon union workers represented by the CWA argued that the company was in violation of statutory obligations to provide adequate service to customers and that public and worker safety were endangered.

CWA filed the complaint in October 2015 and the PUC opened a proceeding to investigate the complaint in April 2016, according to a CWA press release. CWA said it submitted “exhaustive testimony” documenting inadequate maintenance on Verizon’s part. “For nearly two years, CWA documented Verizon’s failure to repair the copper network and equipment in areas where Verizon has chosen not to build out its FiOS fiber network,” said a CWA district vice president said.The Pennsylvania PUC action suggests, however, that some of the biggest challenges in phasing out copper may be more on the policy side than the regulatory side.

Online news outlets employing more women than print, TV: Report

In March, the Women’s Media Center released “The Status of Women in US Media 2017,” its annual report to assess “how a diversity of females fare across all media platforms.” The study found that men outnumber women both in bylines and as sources in stories. Journalism’s gender problem, however, looks a bit different outside male-dominated print and TV news. Online-only news outlets have come much closer to achieving gender balance, and a few journalism fellowships have made strides to better support female journalists. Women fared better in print news, according to the report, but not by much: men produced 62 percent of content.