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Monopolies in Meat: Endangering Workers, Farmers, and Consumers

SUSAN R. HOLMBERG  |   MAY 21, 2020

In the American Prospect, ILSR Senior Researcher Ron Knox explains how a regulatory system that is supposed to protect the food supply has instead undermined small, local slaughterhouses and consolidated production in a few giant meatpacking plants that are now rampant with Covid-19. “Decades of unchecked consolidation and captured regulation have created an industry in which any breakdown on the road from farm to market can threaten our ability to feed ourselves.”  READ MORE


How to Fix Antitrust Policy

SUSAN R. HOLMBERG  |   May 21, 2020

At the request of the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, ILSR’s Co-Director Stacy Mitchell provided a comment letter outlining ILSR’s views on the state of antitrust law and making six recommendations for Congressional action. READ MORE ABOUT OUR POLICY PROPOSALS.


Our Big List of Covid-19 Assistance Programs

Kennedy Smith  |   May 21, 2020

Check out our comprehensive list of grant and loan programs that can help small, locally owned businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic. If you know of additional programs, or if you have updates on the status of any of the programs included here, please email READ MORE


  • Join Stacy next Tuesday at 1pm ET for “Covid and the Future of Amazon,” a discussion hosted by the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago. Stacy will talk with economist Steven Kaplan and Wall Street Journal’s Jacob Schlesinger. Register here.
  • Senior Researcher Ron Knox spoke last week at the Jobs With Justice national conference on a panel about Amazon that included several Athena coalition speakers. Ron spoke about Amazon's monopoly power and efforts underway to fight against it.
  • Stacy spoke with Australian national radio about the scrutiny Amazon is facing.
  • Senior Researcher Kennedy Smith was interviewed by the Sacramento Bee and Route Fifty on the current crisis that local, independent businesses are facing, how Covid-19 is exposing the power imbalance between supply chains and small retail stores, and how state and local governments can use this opportunity to right those wrongs.
  • In Wired, Legal Fellow Shaoul Sussman, with Hal Singer, discredits the idea that Amazon’s moves to copy third-party sellers’ products are equivalent to store brands.
  • Several outlets interviewed Stacy on growing concerns about Amazon’s power, including The New York Times, The Guardian, NBC News, The American Prospect, and Le Monde.
  • Our latest report on the strength of community banks and their vital role in supporting small businesses prompted an in-depth story in NextCity, as well as coverage from CNN, Bloomberg, FOX Business, and The American Prospect.


ILSR Co-Director Stacy Mitchell was profiled in the New York Times. The article primarily focuses on Stacy’s efforts to build a movement to fight Amazon’s growing monopoly power. READ MORE



  • An Atlantic article posits a post-Covid future, where corporations consolidate, small stores vanish, and we are left with an all-delivery economy.

  • Tim Bray, an Amazon executive, quit in protest over its firing of workers who were vocalizing workplace safety concerns. He asks, “I’m sure it’s a coincidence that every one of them is a person of color, a woman, or both. Right?”

  • After a lengthy showdown with Amazon over worker safety, French unions leveraged a settlement they were happy with.

  • Bipartisan concern about Amazon’s power is growing in Washington.
  • Amazon won’t reveal how many of its workers have died from Covid-19 infection. State attorneys general are demanding to know.

  • Amazon is in talks to buy AMC Theatres

  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal is one of Amazon’s most vocal critics on the Hill, and lives in the company’s backyard.

  • Because of how federal small business relief programs were designed, Black and Latino business owners were largely shut out, and nearly half expect to shutter permanently.

  • Violence at Dollar General stores is widespread. The chain understaffs its stores and doesn’t invest in security, leaving workers at risk of armed robbery.
  • Grocery prices saw their biggest monthly jump in 46 years, a consequence of a highly consolidated food system easily disrupted by Covid-19.

  • Michael Pollan describes the sickness in our food supply.

  • Meanwhile, a small meat processing plant in Oregon is finding its footing. “We can be nimble,” says Hentges, the plant manager. “Big plants can’t go from cutting whole loins to ground chuck like that. But we can.

  • More people are bypassing delivery apps like GrubHub and Doordash to order directly from restaurants, and some cities are capping the fees these apps extort.

  • The shutdown has created a perilous situation for independent bookstores, but their ingenuity is helping them survive.

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Copyright © 2020 Institute for Local Self-Reliance, All rights reserved.

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