Will Congress step in to break up some of these huge monopolies like Amazon and Facebook?

CHAMBERSBURG – A whole lot of eyes are on the result of a vote to unionize for Amazon workers in Alabama and what it might mean for the rest of the country.

The vote has already taken place, but the results are set to be released this week.

It would affect upwards of 9,000 in Alabama and depending on how it goes, one would imagine Amazon may be concerned that how Alabama goes, so goes the rest of the country.

Amazon employs almost 1 million people nationwide – second only to Walmart in total number of employees.

It’s not just the workers who are fighting back against Amazon.

A number of small business owners are pushing their Congressional representatives to take a look at Anti-Trust laws as a result of the e-commerce giant’s monopoly on…pretty much everything.

Small businesses are saying it’s impossible to compete with Amazon because they’ve essentially been able to control prices and push the little guys out of the market.

Some interesting history from the Federal Trade Commission’s website:

Congress passed the first antitrust law, the Sherman Act, in 1890 as a “comprehensive charter of economic liberty aimed at preserving free and unfettered competition as the rule of trade.” In 1914, Congress passed two additional antitrust laws: the Federal Trade Commission Act, which created the FTC, and the Clayton Act. With some revisions, these are the three core federal antitrust laws still in effect today.

The antitrust laws proscribe unlawful mergers and business practices in general terms, leaving courts to decide which ones are illegal based on the facts of each case. Courts have applied the antitrust laws to changing markets, from a time of horse and buggies to the present digital age. Yet for over 100 years, the antitrust laws have had the same basic objective: to protect the process of competition for the benefit of consumers, making sure there are strong incentives for businesses to operate efficiently, keep prices down, and keep quality up.

The idea of looking at anti-trust legislation has been kicked around for years. Donald Trump’s Justice Department showed signals that they supported exploring actions against Amazon and President Biden is expressing the same kind of support.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen talked monopolies on First News.

“Amazon’s become the thousand-pound gorilla when it comes to commerce,” Barkdoll said. “I think the appetite is there to do this (Anti-Trust legislation). Whether it’s legal or not is another question. You’ve seen a lot of comments by Congressmen and Senators wanting to take action on this legislatively as well. Keep an eye on this. Amazon could really have a problem if the government steps in and tries to break them up.”

Justice Clarence Thomas took the issue even broader, bringing in companies like Facebook and Google, in recent comments he made.

“When someone does emerge like a competitor, either these big companies buy them out or they take action to essentially shut them down,” Barkdoll said. “This is classic monopolistic conduct and at what point does Congress or the court step in and do something about it?”

It’s particularly concerning when these monopolies serve entrenched political interests.

Jansen noted, “We see our own president encouraging these big companies like Major League Baseball to go ahead and enact extortion, basically, to support political points of view. It’s unbelievable that our own president is encouraging behavior by large sectors of our economy to support leftist political views. How much more blatant can you get than to use the monopolistic power of large corporations and businesses and interests to support your political view?”