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Communications Union Wants Feds to Take Hard Look at Warner/Discovery Merger

Jeff Kotuby

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) wants the Biden Administration to take a serious look at potential labor and anti-trust implications surrounding the recently announced WarnerMedia/Discovery merger.

In a message on their website, the CWA laid out their qualms with the potential merger, citing AT&T’s past transgressions against them three years ago. Now, they want to make sure all parties involved keep their promises to workers and the union — avoiding job cuts and keeping wages fair.

“Three years ago, CWA supported AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner after assurances workers at the new company would be able to join a union without interference from management and engage in collective bargaining,” the report said. “AT&T did not keep its promise to the workers. 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. Now AT&T is touting the $3 billion in “synergies” that the merger will create between Warner Media and Discovery. 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.”

The CWA argues that, while they’re happy AT&T is focusing on telecommunications, it can’t come at the expense of employee rights, especially those in a union. You can read the full statement here.

Earlier this week, AT&T and Discovery reached a merger agreement which will see AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Discovery create a combined company that would see AT&T shareholders own 71 percent of the new entity. AT&T will receive $43B in cash, debt securities, and retention of WarnerMedia’s debt. The company expects the deal to close in mid-2022. Discovery’s CEO David Zaslav would helm the new operation.

“For too long, regulators have had tunnel vision when it comes to anti-trust review,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “The Biden Administration and the Department of Justice should take a serious look at the impact of this transaction on jobs and wages.”

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