Public Workshop on Competition in Labor Markets

Competition in Labor Markets

The Department of Justice will hold a public workshop on September 23, 2019, to discuss the role of antitrust labor markets and promoting robust competition for the American worker. The workshop will cover a variety of labor competition issues, including, among other topics:

  • Anticompetitive no-poach and wage-fixing agreements
  • Approaches to labor market definition
  • The role of employer collaboration and contractual arrangements between employers on competition for workers
  • Labor monopsony in merger enforcement
  • Antitrust exemptions for union activity and collective bargaining

Panelists will discuss recent developments in the law, economic research, and policy proposals, as well as how to effectively develop cases challenging labor monopsony.

Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Makan Delrahim will open the workshop, which will bring together economists, attorneys, labor representatives, and industry experts who examine competition in labor markets and who have experience litigating or studying labor antitrust cases.

The Division intends to explore the practical considerations that antitrust enforcers and private litigants face in bringing cases that involve labor markets. The workshop will begin with an overview of the status of labor economics, followed by a series of panels examining:

  • Approaches to defining labor markets
  • Antitrust analysis of labor restraints arising out of competitor collaborations and contractual partnerships between employers
  • Statutory and nonstatutory antitrust exemptions for labor union activities

Press Release: Department of Justice Antitrust Division to Hold Workshop on Competition in Labor Markets (August 8, 2019)

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Registration

The roundtable will take place in the Great Hall of the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT.

Register through Eventbrite

Note: Valid government-issued photo ID required for entry.

Date and Location

Date:

September 23, 2019
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Location:

Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building
Great Hall
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C., 20530

Public Comment Submissions

The Department of Justice invites comments from the public on the topics covered by this workshop. Interested parties may submit public comments online now through October 23, 2019 at ATR.LaborWorkshop.info@usdoj.gov

Privacy and confidentiality: Written submissions and the identity of the submitter may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed by publication and/or posting on the Department of Justice Web site, at the discretion of the Department of Justice. Information that is submitted in connection with this workshop cannot be maintained as confidential by the Department of Justice. Written submissions should not include any information that the submitting person seeks to preserve as private or confidential.

Workshop Agenda

Opening Remarks:  Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust

Presentation: Economics of Labor Markets and Key Questions for the Workshop

Panel 1:  Approaching Labor Market Definition

Panelists will discuss how labor markets should be defined in antitrust analysis and the appropriate tools, methods, and categories of information required for such analysis.  The panel also will discuss market definition in merger and non-merger cases, and when antitrust enforcers should investigate labor monopsony theories in merger reviews.

Panel 2:  Ancillarity, Collaborations, and Contractual Arrangements: Assessing Antitrust Harms in Complex Business Settings

Restraints on worker mobility are not always purely horizontal or purely vertical, and they sometimes arise in complex business settings, including a variety of collaborations, that blur the lines between interbrand and intrabrand competition.  The panel will explore recent developments in the case law and economic literature and discuss how antitrust enforcers should assess restraints on worker mobility, including restraints that arise within franchise systems and for workers in the “gig” economy.

Panel 3:  Labor Unions and Collective Bargaining

The panel will address the latest developments in case law and public policy regarding statutory and non-statutory labor exemptions from the antitrust laws for collective bargaining and other union activity.  Panelists also will discuss how the evolving status and classification of workers, including workers in the digital economy, dovetails with these labor exemptions. 

Closing Remarks

Updated August 16, 2019

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