Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Will Unions Hold Cellphone Carriers Hostage?

During AT&T’s recent attempt to acquire T-Mobile, its cooperation with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) was considered a model of how businesses and unions could proactively work together. So much for all that: “Two months after the $39 billion deal collapsed,” The Wall Street Journal reports, “some union leaders say the carrier doesn’t seem very grateful.”

Why the discontent? Perhaps it’s because the CWA is in the habit of holding business deals for ransom to get what they want out of contract negotiations. Now, the CWA is squaring off with Verizon, trying to grind its deal with Comcast to a halt. In what The Hill calls part of a “swarm” by unions, the CWA “descended on Capitol Hill Tuesday to urge lawmakers to oppose” the deal.

Meanwhile, union rallies have not-so-coincidentally hit Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York. As WKBW News said of the New York action, the “event was planned in coordination with national actions led by community groups and unionized Verizon workers that are taking place in cities across the country during the week of March 19th.”

It’s certainly not the first time a union has drummed up public protests to pressure legislators into protecting its agenda. But this election season, with the President’s numbers suffering from some decisions unpopular with certain factions of the AFL-CIO, some politicians may be especially prone to making a few big concessions to unions in the hopes of keeping a broader narrative from taking hold.

In the meantime, Americans from coast to coast will find themselves facing rising prices in yet another important area of everyday life. If you’re wondering why your cell phone bill is so high, you might look for the union label.

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