U.S. antitrust officials say competition in the labor market is a top concern for Reuters

ছবি Reuters file photo: Signature seen at the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) headquarters in Washington, DC, Reuters / Andrew Kelly / File photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The acting head of his antitrust department in the U.S. Department of Justice said Friday that the shift toward issues determined by a White House executive order on competition indicates that labor markets are a top priority for enforcement efforts.

Although no-confidence enforcement forces have brought labor trust cases in the past, and the Trump administration’s judiciary brought one in 2018 against the no-poach agreement among rail equipment suppliers, they are rare.

“The department has become increasingly cautious and concerned about business behaviors and transactions that harm the competitiveness of working people,” said Richard Powers, acting head of the department at a conference in New York.

Power added that the coronavirus epidemic has made the focus on labor more critical. “If it was important for law enforcement to protect competition in the labor market a few decades ago and I believe it was, it is essential now,” he said.

He described any breach of the no-confidence law for withholding wages as “as irresistible as the pricing and market allocation agreement that the department has been judging for more than 100 years.” Power added that the department is investing “enough time and resources” in the labor market.

Two of the most common targets of criticism in the labor market are no-poach agreements, where companies agree not to hire each other’s workers, and competitive agreements, where workers sign contracts with a promise not to work for a competitor.

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