December 8, 2016
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Blacks Support Mobile Phone Merger

WASHINGTON -- A national coalition representing the nation's leading African American organizations filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission in support of AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

In its federal filing, the coalition argued that a completed deal would provide African Americans enhanced access to the most technologically advanced tools available to more effectively compete for business opportunities and better jobs.

While the African American community continues to face unemployment rates higher than the national average, limited access to quality health care, near second class educational opportunities, and inconsistent access to the fastest wireless Internet connections – despite high usage rates – this merger could be the antidote to several community challenges.

"AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile has the potential to benefit consumers, communities and workers alike. AT&T has been among the highest ranked in the telecommunications industry for its commitment to diversity in terms of procurement, philanthropy, promotion and hiring at the federal, state and local levels," NAACP Senior Vice President Hilary Shelton said. "Wireless broadband is an integral tool in promoting civic engagement and as such is crucial to voter empowerment. We are hopeful that this acquisition will further advance increased access to affordable and sustainable wireless broadband services and in turn stimulate job creation throughout our country."

Sharon Weston Broome, Chairwoman, NOBEL Women was one of leading intergovernmental organizations that pledged their support. Collectively, the signatory groups represent the approximately 40 million African Americans in the United States.

A recent study by the Pew Research Institute shows that roughly 90 percent of African Americans own a cell phone and more than 60 percent are wireless Internet users.

Despite being at the technological forefront, however, many African American users frequently contend with substandard and inconsistent access on congested urban wireless networks or limited offerings in rural areas.

In the FCC filing, the coalition also commended AT&T's demonstrated commitment to maintaining a diverse workforce and supplier base. Minority-owned firms make up 20 percent of the company's suppliers and nearly 40 percent of AT&T employees are people of color.

The coalition also noted in the FCC support letter the likelihood for increased investments after the proposed merger could provide the African American community with more educational opportunities, expanded healthcare services via telemedicine, enhanced business and employment opportunities.

"The merger of AT&T and T-Mobile will mean more diplomas, better jobs and healthier African American families," National Coalition of Black Civic Participation's President and CEO Melanie L. Campbell said. "A combined AT&T-T-Mobile also will help achieve the Federal Government's goal that our organizations share: 'Connecting every part of America to the digital age.'" 

 

Members of the Coaltion include:

100 Black Men of America, Inc.

A. Philip Randolph Institute

African Methodist Episcopal Church

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Altria Group, Inc.

American Federation of Government Employees

American Federation Of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

American Federation of Teachers

American Postal Workers Union

Black Congress on Health, Law and Economics

Black Leadership Forum, Inc.

Blacks in Government

Church of God in Christ

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

Coalition of Labor Union Women

Communication Workers of America

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Democratic National Committee

Frontiers International, Inc.

General Motors Corporation

Improved Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks

International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters

International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

International Union of Operating Engineers

Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Listen, Inc.

MLK, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

National Alliance of Black School Educators

National Alliance of Postal and Federal Employees

National Association of Black County Officials

National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters

National Association of Black Women Attorneys

National Association of Investment Companies

National Association of Media Women

National Association of Minority CPA Firms

National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc.

National Association of Social Workers

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

National Bankers Association

National Baptist Convention of America

National Baptist Convention-U.S.A., Inc.

National Bar Association

National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus

National Black Caucus of School Board Members

National Black Caucus of State Legislators

National Black Child Development Institute

National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation

National Black MBA Association, Inc.

National Black School Boards Association

National Black United Federation of Charities, Inc.

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

National Congress of Black Political Scientists

National Congress of Black Women

National Council of Black Family and Child Development

National Council of Churches

National Council of Negro Women

National Education Association

National Medical Association

National Newspaper Publishers Association

National School Boards Association

National Urban League

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America

PACE International Union

People for the American Way Foundation

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.

Rainbow / P.U.S.H. Coalition

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Republican National Committee

Service Employees International Union

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Strategic Decisions, Inc.

The Black Women’s Agenda

TWD, Inc.

Union of Needletrades, Industrial Textile & Employees (UNITE!)

United Auto Workers of America

United Food and Commercial Workers Int'l Union

United Steelworkers of America

Voices, Inc.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.


STORY TAGS: Black News, African American News, Minority News, Civil Rights News, Discrimination, Racism, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality, Afro American News

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