The Communications Workers of America weighed in on AT&T’s proposed mega-merger with Time Warner, formally opposing any Justice Department calls for divestiture. The backing comes as Attorney General Jeff Sessions was evasive today during his House Judiciary Committee testimony when a member asked whether the White House had contacted the DOJ in an attempt to influence its decision about the $85 billion deal.
“I would just tell you that I’m not able to accept as accurate news reports that have come out on that,” Sessions said during Tuesday’s hearing.
The Justice Department’s antitrust division has suggested that AT&T would have to sell either Turner Broadcasting — the Time Warner unit that includes CNN — or the El Segundo-based satellite TV division, DirecTV, to win approval of the deal.
President Donald Trump has made no secret of his disdain for CNN, adding to speculation that political considerations were clouding the government’s review of the merger.
CWA president Chris Shelton said today the deal should receive swift approval, because it would maintain and create good jobs and result in innovative new ways to deliver content.
“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,” Shelton said in a statement.
The group said the combination represents a classic vertical merger – video content produced by Time Warner and distributed by AT&T – that should win government approval.
The union cited cable giant Comcast Corp.’s 2011 acquisition of NBCUniversal as one example of such a vertical integration (though the government attached certain conditions before clearing the $39.4 billion deal).