Past Events

Antitrust Policy and Workers

February 9, 2023


Antitrust full graphic

In Person | Online

March 30, 2023

The Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis and the Communications Workers of America hosted a conference examining the stakes of antitrust policy for workers.

With rising economic inequality and pandemic pressures instigating a wave of worker organizing, we stand at a crossroads where policymakers must ask how they will rein in the power of corporations and concentrated wealth or face even greater immiseration and rebellion. While the Biden administration and antitrust regulators seek to include labor market concerns and workers rights in their evaluation of competition policy, major questions have emerged about what policies make antitrust enforcement “pro-worker.” This conference explored the false dichotomies between "workers" and "consumers" and policies that promote democratic market governance. 

Participants were challenged to articulate an antitrust agenda consistent with building a more inclusive economy. How should mergers be reviewed to ensure fair market functioning, not just lower prices? How must major corporations be held accountable for unfair methods of competition embodied in employment misclassification, fissuring of the workplace, and domination of small businesses? What role can the government play in devising new industrial governance structures that bring together capital and labor to negotiate fair terms of competition?

Download the conference paper here


Session videos can be found here (sign-up necessary).



8:45am | Opening | CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens and SCEPA Director Teresa Ghilarducci


9:00 - 9:55am | Mergers, Labor Market Power, and Remedies Enforceable by Workers

  • Moderator: Marka Peterson, Legal Director, Strategic Organizing Center
  • Kate Bahn, Director of Labor Policy & Chief Economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth
  • Andrew Carl, Video game designer and CWA union organizer
  • Tamara Paremoer, Divisional Manager of Mergers and Acquisitions, Competition Commission of South Africa
  • Marshall Steinbaum, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Utah


10:00 - 10:30am | Breakout Sessions 


11:00 - 11:55am | Employer Strategies of Fissuring and Unfair/Unproductive Competition

  • Moderator: Lenore Palladino, Assistant Professor of Economics & Public Policy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Willie Burden, Staff Attorney, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Brian Callaci, Chief Economist, Open Markets Institute
  • Rachel Dempsey, Attorney, Towards Justice
  • Michelle Healy, SEIU Deputy Organizing Director
  • Larry Mishel, Former President, Economic Policy Institute 


12:00 - 12:30pm | Breakout Sessions 


Lunch | Contesting Power with Big Tech

  • Moderator: Teresa Ghilarducci, Director, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis
  • Chris Hughes, Co-founder of Economic Security Project & Senior Fellow, Institute on Race, Power, and Political Economy
  • Tom Smith, Senior Director for Organizing, Communications Workers of America


2:00 - 2:55pm | What Does the Modern Economy Need for Equitable Market Functioning? Market Governance Appropriate to a Democratic Nation

  • Moderator: Brian Callaci, Chief Economist, Open Markets Institute
  • Susan Helper, Senior Advisor for Industrial Strategy, Office of Management and Budget 
  • Nelson Lichtenstein, Professor in History, University of California, Santa Barbara 
  • David Madland, Senior Fellow, Center of American Progress
  • Lenore Palladino, Assistant Professor of Economics & Public Policy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Josh Tzuker, Chief of Staff, Department of Justice Antitrust Division


3:00 - 3:30pm | Breakout Sessions 


4:00pm | Keynote | Rethinking Antitrust  

  • Elizabeth Wilkins, Chief of Staff and Director of the Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission