Labor

Corporate Attacks Against the National Labor Relations Board Could Break the Government

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis writes that efforts by big businesses, including SpaceX, Amazon, and Trader Joe’s, to undermine the National Labor Relations Board rests on poor interpretations of the Constitution but would devastate the American government and economy if successful. 

First Evidence on the Use of Training Repayment Agreements in the US Labor Force

Similar to noncompete clauses in employment contracts, training repayment agreements, which require employees to pay back their employers for firm-sponsored training if they quit early, can impede worker mobility and reduce competition in labor markets. The authors document the pervasiveness and characteristics of these provisions and suggest directions for future research.

The FTC’s Proposed Ban on Noncompetes Could Raise Wages by Four Percent

Nearly one in five American workers are affected by noncompete agreements, which prevent workers from working for or creating a rival firm. In new research, Axel Gottfries and Gregor Jarosch estimate that the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed noncompete ban could raise wages by 4%.

Do Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions Hurt Workers?

Competition authorities and analysts are increasingly focused on the impact of mergers and acquisitions on worker welfare. Using a novel dataset on Canadian firms and workers, David Arnold, Kevin Milligan, Terry S. Moon and Amirhossein Tavakoli test the empirical validity of several theories on how M&A may help or harm workers.

The Purchase of Unionized Labor Is a Relevant Buyer-Side Market in the Kroger-Albertsons Merger

Critics of the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit last week to block the Kroger-Albertsons merger claim that the agency incorrectly limits the relevant buyer-side market to unionized grocery workers. Steve C. Salop argues that the critics are wrong, and that standard antitrust analysis shows the FTC has it right.

History Provides Inspiration for a Stronger Alliance Between Labor and Antimonopoly Advocates

Although the antimonopoly neo-Brandeisians and the labor movement share many goals, including a desire to reduce the power of big business, significant tensions exist, such as labor’s past support for mergers when they advance the ability of workers to unionize. Kate Andrias traces the history of labor’s relation with antitrust to show that, despite historical and contemporary tensions, there have also been deep connections between the two movements that show how they can better complement each other in the future.

Confidentiality Agreements Can Act Like Noncompetes

Noncompete agreements, which impose contractual limits on an employee’s ability to work after leaving a job, are regulated or banned in all states. But employers can potentially get around legal limitations on noncompetes by asking workers to sign confidentiality agreements that have similar functional effects. In a new article, Camilla A. Hrdy and Christopher B. Seaman provide empirical evidence that a significant number of employment agreements contain broad confidentiality provisions that place noncompete-like restrictions on workers.

Influencers Work in Opacity and Need Professional Organization

Excerpted from THE INFLUENCER INDUSTRY: The Quest for Authenticity on Social Media © 2023 by Emily Hund. Reprinted by permission of Princeton University Press.

Firms Sharing Board Members Can Collude To Reduce Worker Mobility

In new research, Taylor Begley, Peter Haslag, and Daniel Weagley find that when firms begin sharing a common director, there is a significant reduction in the number of employees that switch jobs between the two companies. The reduction is largest when the firms compete in the same labor market and for those employees who are most costly for firms to replace. The results show the link between overlapping board members and anticompetitive labor practices is a surprisingly widespread phenomenon.

The Kroger-Albertsons Merger Will Not Help Grocery Competition

Kroger and Albertsons say they need to merge to compete with Walmart. Claire Kelloway argues that what they really want is Walmart’s monopsony power, and permitting mergers on these grounds will only harm suppliers, workers, and consumers.

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