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Tech at Night: AT&T, T-Mobile, Unions, FCC

Tech at Night

So, read any good Tech posts lately? OK, I couldn’t think of a better way than that tonight to introduce a pair of RedState posts on the top story of the moment: AT&T’s announced plans to acquire T-Mobile USA from the Germans. It seems that there are two major conservative perspectives on this deal.

One was described by LaborUnionReport on Sunday: if the non-union T-Mobile workforce is forced under the unionized AT&T umbrella, then the CWA and the AFL-CIO literally profit. And sure enough, the AFL-CIO has now come out in favor of the deal, even though much of the radical left is going to oppose it. I’ve mocked the CWA in this space for backing Net Neutrality over the interests of its members, but apparently blocking this merger would be a bridge too far, because blocking the merger would be against the interests of the union bosses.

However I disagree with blocking the merger regardless of the union issue. If we want to fight forced unionization, let’s pass Right to Work laws and reform the NLRB. Let’s not stop a merger that should improve the wireless service options and quality available to Americans, effectively increasing competition by merging two tech laggards together.

I’m enjoying the response to this announcement given by House Republicans Fred Upton and Greg Walden, respectively the relevant Committee Chairman and Subcommittee Chairman fighting the FCC:

We look forward to the ensuing discussion about what this transaction means for consumers, job creation, competition and our evolving communications marketplace. The committee has already expressed interest in examining the Federal Communications Commission’s transaction review process, in light of its dual – and often times conflicting – role to provide both transaction approvals and industry regulations. A proposed transaction of this scale also underscores the importance of an objective review process at the FCC. A key question for this committee is whether the FCC is conducting thorough market analysis and how that influences the agency’s decision-making. We believe such analysis is essential to this and other transactions, and we intend to determine how Congress should reform the FCC’s process going forward.

This is a great preemptive strike against the radical left, who will certainly politicize this merger. For Upton and Walden to put attention on the FCC’s consistent inability to address the needs and health of the market, is to put the pressure where it belongs: on the power grabbing regulators of the Obama administration. It’s not the private sector that should be forced to answer for itself: it’s the unelected, unaccountable members of the FCC who should.

Before this announcement, I thought my big post today would be on statements made by my own representative, Mary Bono Mack calling out the White House for being too cozy with unions. How badly have Democrats been stonewalling trade? “Since [the last trade deal, with Peru], there have been three new generations of iPhones, two iPads and several new nano iPods — but not a single free trade agreement signed into law. Not one,” Bono Mack pointed out

Bono Mack is right. So it will be interesting to see where the White House falls on the AT&T/T-Mobile deal: with the unions who want more coerced dues payments, or with the radicals who want to impose greater state control of all mass media at the expense of private property and freedom of enterprise.

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