Open Markets, SEIU Comment to DOJ: “Federal Antitrust Enforcers Should Use Their Power to Help Workers”
October 23, 2019
Washington, DC — Today, the Open Markets Institute and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), filed a comment with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in response to their workshop on competition in labor markets explaining how federal antitrust enforcers should use their power to support American workers.
“[T]he DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have largely failed American workers today by allowing a concentration crisis in scores of industries to weaken competition for labor,” the comment states. For years the agencies have wielded antitrust laws to undermine employee challenges to abusive employer behaviors. The comment highlights that the FTC “has campaigned against state and local occupational licensing rules that can enhance the bargaining power and earnings of workers, professionals, and independent entrepreneurs;” while the DOJ has endorsed legal standards that allow franchises “to collude against workers.”
The comment explains in detail how when properly enforced, antitrust law can help, rather than hurt workers. Both the DOJ and FTC can side with workers and take the necessary steps to address the stark power imbalance which they face and which is abetted by employer concentration and abusive contracts. We argue for the following solutions federal agencies can implement: banning non-compete clauses in employee contracts; reviewing mergers and other business conduct for their effects on workers; and advancing legal positions via amicus briefs that would ensure employers and workers have a more equal footing.
The joint comment can be read in full here.
Press Contact: Stella Roque at Open Markets Institute, [email protected]