Over the last several decades, American big business has led a sustained assault on unions. And its mission to undermine worker power has had a quiet but important ally: the government.
What do ice skating coaches, organists, public defenders and property managers have in common? They have all been sued by the US government for attempting to raise their incomes through collective action.
US antitrust laws were originally passed to prevent business monopolies. But they’ve been weaponized as an anti-worker tool – ironically strengthening the grip of the same corporate interests the laws were created to weaken. Under both Democratic and Republican administrations, the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have brought numerous suits against workers who have attempted to organize to raise their wages. The DoJ and FTC have done so even as they have permitted corporate consolidation and monopolization across the US economy.