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STATEMENT BY INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS ON RECENT DEVELOPMENTS REGARDING HDTV

 WASHINGTON, May 28 /PRNewswire/ -- John J. Barry, international president, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, issued the following statement on recent developments regarding HDTV:
 The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is deeply concerned that the current direction in which the development of a standard for high definition television (HDTV) in the United States is headed will have a negative impact on our national economy, consumers and American workers.
 Our union has taken the position that the growth of the HDTV industry in the United States should be accomplished in a manner that ensures our leadership position for years to come. This means that the technology should be of the highest quality, accessible as quickly as possible to the greatest number of consumers and carried out by highly skilled workers on these shores. We believe that only under these conditions will this new industry foster the maximum economic growth and be of benefit to all Americans.
 The formation of an alliance by the consortia seeking to win acceptance of their HDTV standards will certainly reduce the possibilities both of legal wrangling and loss of investment by the contenders whose standard would not have been chosen. However, serious questions have been raised about the feasibility of the technological direction in which the alliance seems to be heading and its potential impact on the quality and attractiveness of the ultimate product to consumers.
 We find it ironic that the IBEW and other labor unions have been criticized for seeking pledges from the contenders to manufacture HDTV components in the United States. Our attempts to ensure that the nation's entire economy reap the benefit of HDTV technology are dismissed in some quarters as "industrial policy." We believe that actions that might curtail open market competition to produce the best possible standard for HDTV technology represent the real intrusion into the workings of the free enterprise system.
 The IBEW stands by its efforts to create the kind of high skill, high technology jobs that numerous experts say must be our nation's course for the future. We continue to support H. Res. 135, a concurrent resolution that expresses the U.S. House of Representatives' belief that the FCC should consider domestic employment in the selection of an HDTV standard. We take this action in the belief that the United States should not simply hand away yet another industry to other nations.
 The United States has the opportunity to assume a world leadership position in HDTV based on the most positive factors: the superiority of our technology, the quality of our work force and the ability to produce a world class, affordable product. It would be a tragedy of the highest order if we sqander these advantages at a time when we could outdistance the rest of the world on the cutting edge on this technological advance.
 -0- 5/28/93
 /CONTACT: C. James Spellane of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, 202-728-6014/ CO: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ST: District of Columbia IN: CPR SU:


DC-TW -- DC008 -- 3263 05/28/93 08:25 EDT
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Date:May 28, 1993
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