In a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission, Fuse Media, a Latino-owned and managed cable network, has alleged that AT&T is forcing it off of its distribution platforms in favor of programming from WarnerMedia, which is owned by AT&T.
Fuse says that positive relations with AT&T over a 15-year period changed in 2018 when AT&T purchased Time Warner Media, whose offerings include TBS, TNT, CNN, Adult Swim, and truTV. Since then, AT&T has ignored Fuse's requests to enter renewal discussions and only responded after Fuse threatened FCC action. Fuse says when AT&T did respond, its renewal offer was "untenable and likely unserious."
The result of losing its distribution on AT&T platforms, Fuse concludes, would be bankruptcy and the elimination of "a vibrant voice speaking to, and for, the multiethnic, multicultural community, especially Latinos, Afro-Latinos, and African Americans."
In December, CWA filed FCC comments in support of Fuse Media's complaint. CWA supported AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner with the expectation that it would lead to the creation and protection of good jobs in the United States. But after the deal closed, CWA saw a similar shift in AT&T's willingness to honor its commitments. For instance, AT&T failed to respect the agreement it made with CWA to ensure the organizing rights of employees at acquisitions like Time Warner.
As CWA says in its filing in support of the Fuse complaint, "The reason for this appears simple: like how it apparently views independent programmers that compete against the Turner networks for advertisers and viewers, AT&T apparently views union jobs at these holdings as a threat to AT&T's bottom line."