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Volume XI, Number 301

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President Biden Signs an Executive Order with Potentially Major Implications for Labor Markets

President Joe Biden signed a new executive order on July 9, called the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, aimed at cracking down on monopolies in Big Tech, labor and other sectors.  According to a Fact Sheet released by the White House, the Executive Order includes 72 initiatives the President wants over a dozen federal agencies to undertake for the stated purpose of promoting competition throughout the U.S. economy.

The Executive Order finds that “[i]nadequate competition holds back economic growth and innovation,” and establishes a whole-of-government effort to promote competition in the American economy.  The White House cites several important statistics in support of its initiatives related to improving competition in the labor markets.

According to the Fact Sheet:

  • Roughly half of private-sector businesses require at least some employees to enter non-compete agreements, affecting some 36 to 60 million workers.

  • Overly burdensome occupational licensing requirements impede worker mobility and suppress wages also restrict competition. Today, almost 30% of jobs in the United States require a license, up from less than 5% in the 1950s.  Fewer than 5% of occupations that require licensing in at least one state are treated consistently across all 50 states.

  • Workers may also be harmed by existing guidance provided by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to Human Resource personnel that allows third parties to make wage data available to employers—and not to workers—in certain circumstances without triggering antitrust scrutiny. This may be used to collaborate to suppress wages and benefits.

In response, the new initiatives will, among other things:

  • Encourage the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to ban or limit non-compete agreements.

  • Encourage the FTC to ban unnecessary occupational licensing restrictions that impede economic mobility.

  • Encourage the FTC and Department of Justice to strengthen antitrust guidance to prevent employers from collaborating to suppress wages or reduce benefits by sharing wage and benefit information with one another.

  • Establish a White House Competition Council, led by the Director of the National Economic Council, to monitor progress on finalizing the initiatives in the Order and to coordinate the federal government’s response to the rising power of large corporations in the economy.

We expect the Federal Register to publish the Executive Order this week, which will include much more detail regarding these labor-related initiatives and the implications on labor markets. 

Copyright © 2021, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 193
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About this Author

Jason P. Brown Labor & Employment Litigation Attorney Hunton Andrews Kurth Washington, DC
Associate

Jason litigates complex employment and labor disputes.

Jason’s practice involves representing employers in all aspects of labor and employment litigation in defense of complaints for class action and single-plaintiff matters. He has successfully litigated and favorably resolved cases involving allegations of sexual harassment, age, race, gender, and disability discrimination, and claims of wrongful termination, harassment and retaliation. Jason has handled all aspects of civil litigation defense from case inception through trial.

Jason provides clients with practical advice...

202-955-1870
Robert T. Quackenboss Labor & Employment Litigation Attorney Hunton Andrews Kurth Washington, DC & New York, NY
Partner

Bob litigates complex employment, labor and business disputes.

Bob is a litigator who represents businesses in resolving their complex labor, employment, trade secret, non-compete and related commercial disputes. He was recognized as a Labor & Employment Star in Benchmark Litigation’s Rankings for 2019. He advises employers regarding union organizing activities, manages union election campaigns and litigates labor arbitrations nationwide. He also serves as co-chair of the firm’s Unfair Competition and Information Protection Task Force, which concentrates on trade secret theft,...

202-955-1950
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