Posted by: Joan Marsh on July 19, 2011 at 9:42 am
In a blog posting last week, Public Knowledge attempted to mount an attack on AT&T on two fronts: jobs and diversity. Faced with the unpleasant reality that those whose very mission is to promote and protect those agendas – labor unions and civil rights organizations – have enthusiastically endorsed the AT&T/T-Mobile USA merger, PK patronizingly dismisses their advocacy as misinformed, going so far as to accuse them of “blindly follow[ing] AT&T off of a cliff.” But ironically, even as PK arrogantly discredits those who support the merger, its analysis is cluttered with misinformation and irrelevancies.
For example, PK, using testimony from a state hearing, asserts that, since 2004, AT&T reduced its workforce by 40% in California while its access line loss was under 9% nationally. Had PK bothered to check the facts it would have learned that AT&T lost over 11% of its total switched access lines last year alone, with an 11.2% access line loss in 2009 as well. Indeed, over the past 9 years, AT&T has lost a full half of its access lines. Yet from 2006 to 2010, AT&T employee headcount decreased by only approximately 12%. So, far from cutting jobs at a rate that exceeds its access line losses, AT&T has lost access lines at a rate that far exceeds its headcount decreases.
PK also conveniently ignores the significant investment that will be necessary to expand our LTE network to reach over 97% of all Americans. That investment will create jobs, and will have job-creating ripple effects throughout the economy, particularly in rural areas. Recognizing these important ripple effects, the CWA commissioned a study that found that the transaction will create as many as 96,000 new, quality jobs, while accelerating broadband build out and improving wireless communications.