Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ANOTHER UNION BAILOUT? THE CWA WANTS HIGH SPEED INTERNET TO BE AN AMERICAN RIGHT

The Communications Workers of America, of which we're all too familiar, is looking for a bailout of sorts. That is, the CWA (that old dinosaur union from the old Ma Bell days) wants to convince America that high-speed internet is an American birthright (something akin to Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness and, of late, Nationalized Health Care).

"Every American should have affordable access to high-speed Internet, no matter where they live. This is essential to economic growth and will help maintain our global competitiveness," said Larry Cohen, president, Communications Workers of America, in a statement.

We recently blogged about this topic, stating:

In any case, comrades, we expect to see the White House, its union allies at the CWA and IBEW, as well as the main stream media to begin an attack on these greedy capitalistic companies and their evil executives for their concerted denial of a basic American Right...high speed internet in every home.

Well, a little more than a week later, it seems that we were right again. The CWA is coming out with a full-court press claiming all Americans deserve to have high-speed internet.

[Note: The attacks on internet providers AT&T, Verizon and Comcast haven't begun in earnest yet, but they will soon.]


This week, the CWA issued a study (its third) making its usual claim that America is inferior to other civilized nations in providing high-speed internet. The union even set up a website [called speedmatters.org] and began issuing press releases complaining about high-speed internet's lack of speed across America. The sum of the union's releases are that poor, rural Americans are being denied a critical need and have the right to have high-speed internet.

So, what is this issue really about? As always, the answer lies in the old adage: Follow the money.

The CWA, a union that has lost hundreds of thousands of dues-paying members since the break-up the old "Ma Bell" system and the invention of primarily non-union wireless telephone industry, wants its members to install the high-speed internet. According to ChannelWeb:

For every $5 billion invested in U.S. broadband infrastructure, 97,500 new jobs in the telecommunications, computer and IT sectors will be created, according to a study by the Communications Workers of America.

Of course, 97,500 members at $600 per year each in union dues means $58,500,000 to the union's coffers every year.

Perhaps this isn't about the right to high-speed internet so much as it is about the right to take taxpayer money to line CWA bosses' pockets.

Editor's note: The writer of this blog post is a former CWA representative and activist.

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