AT&T, DirectTV Face Congressional Hearing Double Header

In back-to-back congressional hearings on Tuesday, the CEOs of AT&T and DirecTV explained to lawmakers how their merger would benefit workers and consumers.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and DirecTV CEO Michael White said their services – AT&T's copper and fiber networks and wireless, and DirecTV's satellite service – don't overlap but are complementary.

The merged company would be more competitive and able to bring high speed broadband to 15 million people who now don't have access. And Stephenson told lawmakers that the merged company will offer to DirecTV employees the options to collectively bargain or not. "That will be their choice," he said.

Stephenson and White testified before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on anti-trust, competition policy and consumer rights, chaired by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and the House Judiciary subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, said this transaction could have "transformational benefit for thousands of employees in this industry."

In a letter to Senator Klobuchar, CWA President Larry Cohen said the merger "will expand high road labor standards and create substantive video competition."

AT&T also has made clear commitments that reinforce the benefit and value of the merger to consumers, including investment and expansion in high speed networks for underserved rural and urban communities, Cohen said.

"AT&T has the largest full-time union workforce of any company in America. From experience, we know that AT&T respects the rights of employees to make their own choice about union representation and engage in collective bargaining to establish their wages and benefits," he pointed out.