Today, from meat to beer to seeds, the food industry is highly consolidated. The removal of a long-standing ownership structure, one that distributed profit and opportunity across America’s landscape, means that now, most land and most animals are now cared for by corporations, not by individuals.
Open Markets filed an amicus brief in support of thousands of immigrant shepherds who allege they are the victims of a cartel among ranchers in the Western United States. The shepherds – here on a guest worker program from Peru – in 2015 sued the ranchers and their associations for colluding to suppress their wages.
The Open Markets Institute filed a comment to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) exposing how manufacturers - of everything from cellphones to tractors – monopolize markets for parts and service, shutting out independent technicians, driving up repair costs, and sending more goods to landfills.
“We believe that the plaintiffs have shown the existence of a collusive agreement among the ranchers and that the panel’s decision is bad law and threatens to encourage other employer cartels,” said Open Markets Legal Director Sandeep Vaheesan.
In 2015, a group of Peruvian shepherds working for sheep ranchers in the western U.S. filed an antitrust suit alleging that the ranchers had colluded to hold down wages and avoid competing for labor. A judge initially dismissed the case and a three-judge panel on the Tenth Circuit agreed this July. The plaintiffs petitioned for another chance at their day in court. Open Markets Food & Power reporter Claire Kelloway asserts that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeal’s recent decision sets a precedent that, if adopted by other courts, could legalize cartel activity across the entire economy against both workers and consumers.
The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is investigating whether or not Amazon’s Los Angeles location meets state qualifications for a liquor store. Amazon intends to focus on delivering alcohol giving the online corporation a competitive advantage over California alcohol retailers who must pay for staff, stocking, and real estate.
Will out-of-state investors own a sizable portion of Costco’s chicken production? One investor from North Carolina has applied for permits to build at least 132 chicken houses across nine locations in four Nebraska counties, according to public documents reviewed by Food & Power. Read Claire Kelloway’s latest story on how one private equity fund could own a quarter of the chicken houses for Costco’s project in Nebraska.
“Do farmers truly own their tractors if they aren’t allowed to fix them?” writes Open Markets Food & Power reporter Claire Kelloway. “That’s the question posed by the growing Right to Repair campaign.” Read her latest piece on the Federal Trade Commission’s Right to Repair workshop that brought together small business owners, state lawmakers, trade group representatives, and advocates to explain the different ways manufacturers prevent buyers from fixing their products, and whether or not they are justified.