Convening to Restore Competitive Labor Markets


JUNE 13, 2018
8:30am – 4:30pm

Funds still available for traveling/ lodging.
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  • Benjamin Sachs, Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry, Harvard Law School
  • Sharon Block, Executive Director, Labor & Worklife Program at Harvard Law School


PRESENTATION: Inequality and Market Concentration: Hidden Connections

David Weil

David Weil, Dean and Professor, Heller School for Social Policy & Management at Brandeis University

David Weil became the Dean and Professor of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in August 2017.  Prior to that, he was the Peter and Deborah Wexler Professor of Management at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. He was appointed by President Barack Obama to be the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor and was the first Senate confirmed head of that agency in a decade.  He led the Wage and Hour Division from 2014 to January 2017.

Weil is an internationally recognized expert in employment and labor market policy; regulation; transparency policy and digital empowerment; and the impacts of supply-chain and industry restructuring on employment and work outcomes and business performance. 

Dr. Weil has written five books, most recently The Fissured Workplace (Harvard University Press). Dr. Weil received his BS at Cornell University and Master and Ph.D. degrees in Public Policy at Harvard University.


CONVERSATION: A Worker's Perspective 

Detroit-area nurse Jeffrey Suhre, one of the named plaintiffs in a decade-long antitrust suit for wage fixing against eight major hospitals in the Detroit area, joins us for a moderated conversation about his experiences both as a victim of anticompetitive labor market conduct and a named plaintiff seeking to hold employers accountable. Jeffrey will share his perspectives on participating in this groundbreaking litigation, the role of his union in bringing the case, and the impact of collusive practices on the labor market. 



PANEL: Anticompetitive Practices in the Labor Market

In 2016, President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers explained that a "general reduction in competition [for labor] among firms" has helped to "shift[] the balance of bargaining power towards employers." Experts have theorized that this trend is among the reasons why we've yet to see sustained wage growth or any dent in economic inequality during the precipitous decline in unemployment since the great recession. This panel will discuss various impediments to labor market competition--including structural impediments like growing labor market concentration and informational asymmetries regarding wage rates, and anticompetitive practices by employers, like non-compete agreements and no-hire or no-poach agreements among competing employers.

The panel will identify these practices, discuss how and where they arise, and explain how they undermine employee bargaining power. The discussion will also contextualize these problems alongside other worrisome labor market trends, including declining union membership, workplace fissuring, and the gender and race wage gaps.

  • Nell Abernathy, Vice President of Research and Policy, Roosevelt Institute   
  • Dean M. Harvey, Partner, Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
  • ReNika Moore, Labor Bureau Chief, Office of the New York State Attorney General’s Office
  • Maya Raghu, Director of Workplace Equality and Senior Counsel, National Women’s Law Center
  • David Seligman (Moderator), Strategic Litigation Counsel, Towards Justice
  • Heidi Shierholz, Senior Economist & Director of Policy, Economic Policy Institute




PRESENTATION: Fighting Monopsony, a Lack of Competition that Harms Workers

Ioana Marinescu

Ioana Marinescu, Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Ioana Marinescu is an economist who studies the labor market to craft policies that can enhance employment, productivity, and economic security. To make an informed policy decision, it is crucial to determine the costs and benefits of policies. Dr. Marinescu’s research expertise includes online job search, workforce development, unemployment insurance, the universal basic income, and employment contracts.

Dr. Marinescu’s research has been published in leading academic journals such as the Journal of Labor Economics and the Journal of Public Economics. She is the economist leading the Data@Work Research Hub, a workforce data gathering and sharing project funded by the Sloan Foundation. She writes a monthly op-ed for the French newspaper Liberation, and a monthly blog post on hiring and management tips backed by research at CareerBuilder.com.

Dr. Marinescu is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. You can follow her on twitter @mioana and check out her research on her website, marinescu.eu.




Lisa Madigan

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, State of Illinois

Lisa Madigan was elected to a fourth term as Illinois Attorney General in November 2014. She is the senior most female Attorney General in the country and the longest serving Attorney General in Illinois history.

Recognized for her leadership and integrity, Lisa Madigan has brought a high level of activism to the Office of Attorney General. From her first days in office, she has demonstrated principled leadership, putting policy before politics and focusing her work as the state’s top legal advocate on protecting the people and communities of Illinois.

Under Madigan’s direction, her office has collected over $14 billion for the state.

Madigan’s Consumer Protection Division has established a national reputation for aggressively safeguarding consumers from financial fraud and discriminatory lending in mortgage, student, and payday lending. Attorney General Madigan was lead negotiator in the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement with the nation’s largest banks. Overall, she has taken legal actions that have delivered more than $3 billion in relief for Illinois homeowners, communities and pension funds. 

Madigan created a Workplace Rights Bureau in the Attorney General’s office to challenge unfair labor practices, including required non-compete agreements for hourly, low-wage workers, on-call scheduling, as well as discrimination against immigrant workers. Madigan passed a law to protect workers’ wages received on payroll cards from unreasonable fees. Currently, Madigan is promoting a bill to prevent student loan borrowers from losing their professional licenses for failing to pay their student loan debt.

The Attorney General’s efforts to protect women, children and seniors have also garnered national attention. She has passed groundbreaking laws against sexual violence, making Illinois the first state in the country to mandate testing of sexual assault evidence kits. Madigan passed the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act, requiring Illinois colleges to adopt fair policies to prevent and respond to campus sexual violence. She overhauled state law to improve the response of the criminal justice system to survivors of sexual assault, helping encourage survivors to report their crimes to law enforcement. The Attorney General also leads a statewide task force to investigate online child exploitation and has championed tougher sanctions against sexual predators. Madigan has increased protections for nursing home residents, including a law that allows security monitoring devices in residents’ rooms.

Madigan created the first-ever Public Access Counselor and strengthened the state’s sunshine laws, the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act, to provide transparency and accountability of government at all levels. In her continued efforts to crack down on public corruption and government misconduct, Madigan created a Public Integrity Unit to investigate fraud, waste and abuse.

Attorney General Madigan has successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Due to her expertise, she frequently testifies before Congress on a wide range of issues, including mortgage and student lending, data security breaches, rape kit testing backlogs, unsafe children’s products, utility pricing and employment discrimination. The U.S. State Department appointed her to the U.S. delegation for the Universal Periodic Review before the United Nations Human Rights Council to discuss state-level human rights issues.

Before her election as Attorney General, Madigan served in the Illinois Senate and worked as a litigator for a Chicago law firm. Prior to becoming an attorney, she worked as a teacher and community advocate, developing after-school programs to help kids stay away from drugs and gangs. Madigan also volunteered as a high school teacher in South Africa during apartheid.

Madigan earned her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She and her husband, Pat Byrnes, have two daughters.




PANEL: Using Stakeholder Collaborations

Working to keep labor markets competitive requires a wide array of skills and expertise, particularly when it comes to using antitrust law. Above all, using any legal mechanism to address competition issues requires an in-depth understanding of the factual situation and the economic forces at play—from the market to the history of the violations to the relevant law. Violations don’t fit into cookie-cutter molds, and it is only possible to make complicated economic exploitation digestible, and actionable, if you can trace the story of how the violations resulted in real harm and unpack who is benefiting and how. Also, because restraints on competition are often quite valuable to the participants, attempts to dismantle them can be fierce.

But the complexity of competition problems is matched by the potential for tremendous real-world impact: restraints on competition, particularly in the labor field, are the cause of myriad, life-altering difficulties for their victims. Whole swaths of the labor force are denied their fair shake by these restraints, and many different stakeholders can be marshalled to address them.

This panel will help clear some ground around building the kind of collaborative relationships that are needed to understand, identify, investigate, and redress an anticompetitive restraint. We will hear what collaborations are needed from people working on-the-ground, experts in comparative markets, and antitrust lawyers.

  • Nina DiSalvo, Executive Director, Towards Justice
  • Benjamin Elga (Moderator), Executive Director, Justice Catalyst
  • Terri Gerstein, Fellow, Labor & Worklife Program at Harvard Law School and Open Society Foundations Leadership in Government
  • Doha Mekki, Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division
  • Daniel A. Small, Partner, Cohen Milstein




PRESENTATION: New Evidence, Proofs, and Legal Theories on Horizontal Shareholding

Einer Elhauge

Einer Elhauge, Petrie Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Einer Elhauge is the Petrie Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Founding Director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics. He served as Chairman of the Antitrust Advisory Committee to the Obama Campaign. He teaches a gamut of courses ranging from Antitrust, Contracts, Corporations, Legislation, and Health Care Law. Before coming to Harvard, he was a Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, and clerked for Judge Norris on the 9th Circuit and Justice Brennan on the Supreme Court. He received both his A.B. and his J.D. from Harvard, graduating first in his law school class.

He is an author of numerous pieces on range of topics even broader than he teaches, including antitrust, public law, corporate law, patents, the legal profession, and health law policy. His most recent books include: Obamacare on Trial (2012); Research Handbook on the Economics of Antitrust Law (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. 2013); The Fragmentation of U.S. Health Care: Causes and Solutions (Oxford University Press 2010); Statutory Default Rules (Harvard University Press 2008); U.S. Antitrust Law and Economics (Foundation Press 2011); Global. Antitrust Law and Economics (Foundation Press 2011); and Global Competition Law and Economics (Hart Publishing 2011). For his website and publications, see law.harvard.edu/faculty/elhauge.



Putting our heads together to shape what is next in restoring competitive labor markets. Breakouts will produce deliverables on 1) what the research agenda should be moving forward; 2) how anti-trust lawyers and advocates can work together to identify collusive and monopsonistic practices; 3) how we can continue to bring public attention to the problem; 4) what the state/local legislative strategies are; and 5) how we can link these issues to broader worker rights campaigns.



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