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ILSR Commends Elizabeth Warren's Big Tech Breakup Proposal

Stacy Mitchell  |  Mar. 8, 2019

Monopoly is emerging as a key issue in the 2020 presidential campaign. This month, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.) rapidly advanced the debate by issuing a policy proposal to break up and rein in the power of tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, and others.
Warren's proposal zeros in on the core anticompetitive problem with Big Tech: these companies both own the platform that other firms rely on to reach the market and they compete with those same firms. Her proposal would require Amazon and other tech giants to choose between maintaining their ownership of the platform and being a competitor on that same platform. This is the approach that ILSR’s work on Amazon has called for. 
“Senator Warren’s proposal rightly recognizes that digital platforms have become the core infrastructure of our economy,” said Stacy Mitchell. “If we’re going to restore competition and protect the free exchange of goods and ideas, then we cannot allow Amazon and other big tech companies to use their control of this infrastructure to privilege their own goods and services at the expense of their competitors.”

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ILSR Joins Petition to Ban Non-Compete Agreements, Highlights Harm to Local Businesses and Entrepreneurship

Charlie Thaxton  |  Mar. 20, 2019

Until a few years ago, to get a job picking products out of bins at an Amazon warehouse, workers had to sign a non-compete agreement — a contract that barred them from taking a job at a competing company for 18 months after their employment ended. Although Amazon dropped the practice (after negative publicity), non-competes have become remarkably common across low-wage sectors like retail and food service. 

Corporations use non-competes to limit the mobility of workers and depress their wages. And that’s not all: Research suggests that non-competes also work to the benefit of big corporations by hindering small businesses and stifling the creation of competing startups. 

This week, ILSR joined Open Markets Institute and others in filing a formal petition with the Federal Trade Commission to ban non-competes.

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Federal Trade Commission Flooded with Comments on Staples Merger

Zach Freed  |  Feb. 28, 2019

Last month, ILSR reported on the private-equity-owned Staples’ move to purchase Essendant, one of only two wholesalers that supply independent office supply businesses. We outlined how the merger will help Staples and Amazon stifle competition and undermine independent businesses in a piece for The Washington Monthly. We also submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission calling on the agency to rescind its preliminary approval of the deal.
Many of you joined us — 1,869 people registered their disapproval with the FTC! That's an unusually high number of comments, maybe even a record, bringing a remarkable degree of popular scrutiny to an agency accustomed to operating behind closed doors.

Read more about this merger.


New Podcast Episode on Race and the Economy with Maurice BP-Weeks

Hibba Meraay  |  Feb. 21, 2019

Stacy Mitchell spoke with Maurice BP-Weeks, co-director of the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) on the latest episode of Building Local Power.

After spending years as a community organizer, Maurice now works with community organizations on campaigns that fight wealth destruction in communities of color. Stacy and Maurice talk about ACRE’s work at the intersection of racial justice and Wall Street accountability.

Listen to the full episode here.



  • Inspired by our report on dollar store chains, NBC Nightly News went to Tulsa, Okla., for a feature on how that community is fighting back.
  • Stacy Mitchell was quoted on Elizabeth Warren’s tech proposal in HuffPost and The Hill.
  • An op-ed in the Charleston Post and Courier urged city leaders not to let chains crowd out local businesses in the downtown and drew on ILSR’s policy research to show what they should do.
  • "When you put all these data points together, [Amazon] looks like a giant squid with many arms busy reconfiguring nearly every corner of our economy — and our laws,” Stacy Mitchell told Axios in reference to new data about the reach of Amazon’s lobbying.


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