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COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS SAY AMERITECH CEO'S PROPOSED DEGREGULATION POLICIES 'ARE WORTH EXPERIMENTING WITH' AS A PILOT PROGRAM

 WASHINGTON, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Communications Workers of America (CWA) today said the telecommunications deregulation policies proposed by Ameritech CEO William Weiss "are worth experimenting with as a pilot program in this region for the entire industry."
 CWA Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Easterling reported that CWA National President Morton Bahr and Vice President Robert Johnson approved the union's support for the policy objectives and regulatory reform measures proposed by Ameritech that would fundamentally change the telecommunications industry in the company's service area. She made the statement in a speech to Ohio Bell executives and CWA local union leaders.
 According to Easterling, CWA's support includes the company's proposals to open the network to competition, provide flexibility in the pricing of services, permit Ameritech to enter into long distance services, manufacturing, cable television (including the development and broadcasting of programs) and other information services.
 "We believe Ameritech's proposals are on the right track and will bring about a level playing field in telecommunications for the operating companies. The regulatory and policy initiatives that he is proposing are worth experimenting with as a pilot program in this region for the entire industry," she said.
 Easterling said she sees these proposals as a way for the union "to grow with the industry and with Ameritech." CWA also will look to Ameritech to be responsive to the union's institutional concerns and to the job security needs of Ameritech's workers as the company embarks on the new decentralization plan to reorganize into separate business units.
 "We ask Ameritech to positively respond to those concerns just as the company asks for our support to make the transition go as smoothly as possible and for our assistance on the regulatory proposals that you are putting forth," she said. Among other issues, she said CWA will seek the right to represent all workers employed by Ameritech in any new subsidiaries the company creates.
 Easterling explained that CWA based its support for Ameritech's proposals because today's regulatory policies restrict the ability of the company to enter into new businesses, such as cable television. Cable television operators, however, are now being permitted to offer telephone service. As an example, she cited Teleport that operates a private network in competition with Michigan Bell. Teleport is jointly owned by TCI cable television and Cox Enterprises, which also owns newspapers.
 "To bar the operating companies from providing servicers such as cable television and programming, while allowing others to enter their markets, is unfair to consumers and jeopardizes the job security of our members," she said.
 Easterling also pointed out that current telecommunications policies encourage regional operating companies to invest large sums into business overseas that they are prevented from entering at home.
 "This is folly. We should be encouraging domestic telecommunications companies to invest their money and create jobs here to benefit the American economy and American workers. America and American workers gain nothing when GTE spends $6 billion to buy the Venezuela Telco or when Bell Atlantic and Ameritech take over the New Zealand Telco," she said. "That money should be spent here for the development of our domestic telephone system."
 -0- 3/25/93
 /CONTACT: Greg Kenefick for the Communications Workers of America, 202-289-4485/
 (AIT)


CO: Communications Workers of America; Ameritech ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU:

MH-IH -- DC014 -- 9631 03/25/93 13:28 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 25, 1993
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