On Jul. 15, the Justice Department approved WorldCom’s acquisition of MCI over the protests of rivals, unions and left-wing activists. The merger has one more regulatory hurdle: a “public interest review” by the Federal Communications Commission where an alliance of self-interested opponents will put up their strongest fight. In addition to the Communication Workers of America, the AFL-CIO’s John J. Sweeney, Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader have entered the fray. And GTE, hoping to revive its own efforts to acquire MCI, has fought the merger. WorldCom & MCI are largely non-union companies. If this merger is overturned and GTE gets MCI, CWA stands to inherit a hefty amount of defenseless workers ripe for unionizing.
Evidence is growing that corporate dollars are supporting the union and left-wing activist’s PR battle. GTE’s PR firm Powell Tate, a D.C. firm which is also working with Nader on an anti-Microsoft campaign, held a Capitol Hill news conference at the posh Hyatt Regency in Mar. featuring Sweeney, Jackson & Nader. Jackson’s PUSH/Rainbow Coalition and CWA have undertaken print ad campaigns that have been reportedly supported, in part, by GTE. Also, Jackson’s group has created a flashy website for disinformation on the merger. [LA Times 07/16/98, Washington Post 03/13/98 & National Journal 02/07/98]