People belonging to the school of thought in left-of-center economic circles believe that corporate mergers and several other common corporate practices have resulted in American workers being worse off. One of the most influential intellectuals belonging to this school seems to be the American President, Joe Biden.
Recently, the White House has released an executive order revolving around the competition policy. Experts who are familiar with the order state that one section of it has numerous positions that would help increase competition in the labor market.
The order is set to allow FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to ban or limit non-competent agreements which employers have used to exploit worker’s ability to quit for a better job in recent years. They will now be able to ban occupational licensing restrictions that are unnecessary and cause problems in getting new work, particularly amongst state lines. Moreover, the new order would encourage the Justice Department and F.T.C to also restrict employers from sharing information on workers’ pay in a manner that would help in collusion.
The executive order mainly entails that anti-trust regulators would now also be looking into how mergers would contribute towards sustaining monopoly-like conditions. Whether takeover, mergers, or acquisitions would lead to workers having less to no choice on where to work and thus have no leverage of demanding higher wages and better benefits.
The efficiency of the order relies on the hands of the regulators and whether they can carry out the rules which the White House envisions. It is also necessary for legislators to write them in a way that it can survive legal challenges. Even so, the upcoming order would be one of the most concerted efforts in recent years in which the federal government’s powers are being used to make the situation better for the workers.
Jason Furman, Chairman of (White House Council of Economic Advisers in the Barrack Obama administration), stated that in recent years, lack of competition has led to a decrease in wages, and there can be better government involvement in that respect. Now, the White House has come to the front in filling the gaps between academician’s understanding of the labor market and the laws that govern the interrelationship between companies and workers. The Biden administration is actively pushing for a more competitive and less corporate-friendly labor market. However, the new set of policies are unlikely to uplift the labor conditions overnight but are probably a step in the right direction. The set of policies and other agendas of the president could, over time, nudge the balance of power away from the corporates as it has been the norm for the last four decades.