AT&T merger approval looking pretty darned likely
posted at 1:36 pm on March 29, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
Will Democrats who usually line up to protest large-scale corporate mergers demand intervention to stop AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile? After all, this hits on two hot-button topics for the Left, Net Neutrality and corporate power, which normally would act like something akin to a perfect progressive storm. As The Hill explains, however, don’t expect too much more than token resistance from Democrats, for one big reason:
Analysts predict that Republicans are less likely than Democrats to try to block AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile. But in certain districts, the merger could carry political costs for GOP candidates.
That’s because thousands of T-Mobile USA’s employees — who are not unionized — will become part of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) if AT&T is permitted to buy up the company. CWA almost uniformly endorses Democrats.
“CWA is very influential in certain states, and this might increase their political muscle in certain places where they are powerful, like New Jersey,” said Daniel DiSalvo, a political science professor at the City College of New York.
CWA may have the most to gain wherever T-Mobile employees are highly concentrated, according to a Republican strategist who declined to be named.
That’s the bad news for the GOP. The good news is that the highest concentration for T-Mobile employees is in Bellevue, Washington. The good news is that this won’t be much of a loss. Bellevue votes heavily Democratic anyway, and its proximity to Seattle means that the trend would likely have continued regardless.
The effect will more likely be felt nationwide, and to a lesser extent than what The Hill predicts. T-Mobile USA has 42,000 employees according to Wikipedia, which hardly will provide a private-sector windfall to CWA. Many of those will probably be lost as AT&T consolidates offices and stores to save money after the merger, so CWA can’t even count on that many new contributors, and those who do get folded into union shops might end up being voices for decertification later.
Still, some Democrats may look at those numbers, along with making T-Mobile an American-run network, as enough of a reason to back off of anti-trust charges for this merger. If it sails through more quietly than expected, this could be one reason for the relative silence.
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