Media that empowers working people – that's how we build a More Perfect Union.

Don't Miss a Video!

Access our exclusive reporting and rapid response actions directly in your inbox, so you don’t miss a beat in the fight for working people nationwide.

Be a part of a community backing up independent journalism with action.

Ideas

Have a story to tell or idea to share?
Email [email protected]
© 2021 More Perfect Union Action

Together we can build power for working people.

We’re asking questions that really matter, and telling the stories of people who really need to be seen and heard.

You can support our work by donating today.

Amount

Make It Monthly

Don't Miss a Video!

Access our exclusive reporting and rapid response actions directly in your inbox, so you don’t miss a beat in the fight for working people nationwide.

Be a part of a community backing up independent journalism with action.

The Real Deal: Mergers Fuel Job Losses

YouTube Thumbnail

Financial analysts predict that the large number of distressed small businesses will provide large corporations with a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to make acquisitions and consolidate power.” While neoliberal economists claim that corporate mergers lead to more efficiency and lower prices for consumers, the reality is that corporate consolidation fuels inequality by driving up the prices of goods and depressing the wages of workers. Without strong government action, massive corporations and their billionaire executives could grow even bigger and stronger at great public cost.

Laws to address the negative effects of corporate consolidation have been in place for more than a hundred years. In the late-nineteenth century, massive conglomerates controlled huge portions of the economy including railroads, oil, steel, and sugar. Companies such as Standard Oil and U.S. Steel dominated entire industries, leaving consumers and small businesses with no choice but to purchase their products at whatever price the goliaths set. In response, the U.S. passed a series of antitrust laws designed to protect consumers by promoting competition in the marketplace.

Since the New Deal-era, however, shifting interpretations of antitrust law and policy have allowed an increasing number of industries to consolidate. The biggest shift occurred in the 1970s, when neoliberal economists reoriented U.S. antitrust policy around getting the greatest number of goods to customers at the lowest cost—rather than safeguarding against undue corporate influence or preserving competition. In the subsequent years, waves of corporate mergers and acquisitions resulted in a growing number of industries dominated by a shrinking number of companies. The trend has hit almost every industry you could think of, from pet food to online pornography.
The lax approach to corporate consolidation allows massive corporations to hoard wealth to themselves while distorting the market for everyone else. By eliminating pressure from competitors, mergers result in an average price increase of 7 percent. Independent businesses are paying higher prices and receiving less favorable terms as a result. One estimate found that the high rate of corporate concentration costs the typical American household more than $5,000 a year. The rise of corporate behemoths also stifles new business creation as dominant corporations make it harder for smaller or newer competitors to enter the marketplace.

Mergers may be even worse for people as workers than consumers. When companies merge they look for “redundancies” they can eliminate to create “cost savings,” which is corporate-speak for layoffs. As a result, corporate consolidation has reduced overall U.S. employment by an estimated 13 percent. In some cases, CEOs get bonuses when they sell companies—a practice known as “payoffs for layoffs” because of how often it leads to people losing their jobs. Consolidation also drives wages down by decreasing competition for labor; the average person’s salary would be more than $10,000 higher if employers were less concentrated. Meanwhile, corporate mergers have resulted in a larger class of billionaire executives.

The COVID-19 crisis and recession may lead to another wave of mergers and acquisitions. While the pandemic disproportionately impacted small businesses, the initial federal rescue package in 2020 provided the bulk of direct business aid to Wall Street and large corporations. This leaves big businesses flush with cash while struggling businesses seek life preservers to stay afloat.

We need strong government action to take on these corporate behemoths and enforce existing antitrust law. The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division are supposed to be the most important cops on the beat, but have long been strapped by insufficient budgets and inadequate administration. It is a great step that leading antitrust expert Lina Khan has been confirmed to fill one of the FTC’s open slots, but we need more individuals like her on the commission in order to implement a much-needed halt in merger activities. The administration also has yet to name someone to lead the DOJ antitrust role. That needs to happen quickly, and it needs to be someone who is not afraid to take corporate America to court. Congress has a role to play as well, and can start by passing stronger merger laws.

Today’s corporate consolidation bears a striking resemblance to that of the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, when America first established its antitrust policy to rein in an unsustainable surge in big corporate monopolies. If we don’t step up enforcement, dominant corporations could continue to manipulate their market position to grow even bigger and stronger. As America emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses and working people cannot afford to get squeezed even further by an ineffectual antitrust regime.

The Latest

YouTube Thumbnail
The Media Is Ignoring An Economic Boom For Workers
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Wall Street Buying Mobile Home Parks?
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
How Casino Workers Were Left Out Of Clean Air Laws
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Orlando Airport Workers Are Fighting Back Against Overwork And Underpayment
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Inflation Explained: The Real Reason Prices Are Going Up
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Largest Strike in America: Columbia Student Workers Demand a Fair Contract
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
How A Multi-Billion Dollar Bank Merger Could Devastate This Connecticut City
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
3 Ways Biden Can Lower Drug Prices Immediately
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
PetSmart Workers Expose Horrifying Conditions For Workers & Pets
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Cori Bush And Democrats Finalizing A Plan To Lower Insulin Costs
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Kaiser Health Care Workers Are Ready To Strike
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
‘Everything About Walmart Is a Lie’: Walmart Workers Demand $15 Minimum Wage
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Untold History: How America Got (And Lost) Universal Child Care
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Google Threatens Water Supply of Drought-Stricken Town
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
NYC Taxi Drivers Won The Debt Relief They Hungered For
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
HelloFresh Workers Expose Horrific Working Conditions
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Fight To Democratize The UAW
Read More
More Perfect Union’s Striketober Coverage
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Cheer-Opoly That Needs Government Regulation
Read More
POLL: The Voters Who Democrats Covet Are Cheering On The Strike Wave
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Starbucks Spreads Anti-Union Lies In Forced Employee Meetings
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Dollar General Is Illegally Union-Busting
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Most Consequential Election You’ve Never Heard Of
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Elizabeth Warren Debunks Republicans’ Lies On Taxes
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
NYC Taxi Drivers Hunger Strike For Debt Relief
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Millionaire Developers Plot To Overturn India Walton’s Election in Buffalo
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Striking Kellogg’s Workers Expose Company’s Lies
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Most Pro-Labor President? Here’s What Joe Biden Must Do
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
This Powerful Democrat Is Gutting Biden’s Paid Family Leave Program
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
SCOOP: Dollar General Caught Union Busting
Read More
Strike Tracker: Who In Congress Is Speaking Out For Workers?
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Here’s Why 10,000 John Deere Workers Are on Strike
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Burn The Forest To Save It, Firefighters Argue
Read More
10,000 John Deere Workers Are Officially On Strike
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Ohio’s New Election Maps Are So Rigged Even the GOP Governor Says They’re Illegal
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
CVS Workers Refuse To Settle For Nickels And Dimes
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Working 120 Days Straight: Kellogg’s Workers Go on Strike to Protest Brutal Conditions
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Netflix and Amazon Film Crews Expose Horrific Conditions On Set
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Inside Scoop On The Campaign To Primary Kyrsten Sinema
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Amazon Worker Died After Being Assigned To COVID Testing Team
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Voters Rage At Rep. Scott Peters For Selling Out On Drug Prices
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
DeJoy Slows Down USPS Mail Service To Speed Up Privatization
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
60,000 Hollywood Crew Workers Gear Up For First-Ever Strike
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Real Reason Grocery Prices Are Skyrocketing
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Starbucks Tries To Crush Historic Union Drive In Buffalo
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Exclusive: Tesla Employee Speaks Out On Rampant Racism At The Company
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
How Spotify Is Killing The Music Industry
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Exclusive: Racist Slurs & Toxic Culture At Tesla
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Meet The Democrat Helping To Destroy The Postal Service
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Apple Is Behind One Of The Largest Thefts In History
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
How Iowa City Defeated Grubhub
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
A Frito-Lay Worker Was Electrocuted, Denied Medical Care & Stalked by Company Agents
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
How Fort Worth Activists Defeated the Dollar Store Invasion
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Forced to Work 12 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week: The Dark Side of Frito-Lay
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The NRA You’ve Never Heard Of Is Blocking a $15 Minimum Wage
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
How NYU Grad Students Won A Major Labor Fight On Their Campus
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
These Drivers Could Defeat Uber & Lyft With Their Own App
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
For Fast-Food Workers, the Pandemic Made a Bad Situation Worse. Now They’re Fighting Back.
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
A Modern Day Sweatshop: The Tesla Factory Secrets Elon Musk Doesn’t Want You To Know
Read More
Drivers Protest Uber & Lyft
Gig Workers Take On Big Tech in Massachusetts
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Striking Alabama Coal Miners Put Their Lives on the Line
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Fired By Elon Musk for Unionizing at Tesla
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema Boosts Republican Assault on Democracy
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Real Deal: Mergers Fuel Job Losses
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Republicans Wage War to Deny More Than 800,000 Disabled and Elderly Americans Home Care
Read More
New Poll: Majority of Voters Support the PRO Act and the For the People Act
Read More
Poll Finds Republicans Support Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Dirty Secret Behind Dollar General’s Low Prices
Read More
Majority of Trump Voters & 65% of Americans Support Medicare Expansion
Read More
Workers rally for the PRO Act.
NEW POLL: Bipartisan Support for PRO Act in Arizona, Virginia and Other Key States
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
TV Networks Caught Airing Fake “Interviews” Scripted By Major Corporate Lobby
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
BREAKING: New Details Bolster Likelihood NLRB Will Overturn Amazon Union Election
Read More
Exclusive: Emails Show Amazon Pressured USPS To Install Illegal Dropbox During Union Election
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
NEW REPORT: Amazon’s Most Egregious Illegal Action To Bust The Union Organizing Effort
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
EXPOSED: The Major Corporations Funding Voter Suppression Efforts in Georgia
Read More