By Danielle Kaye
Source: Bloomberg Law

The US Federal Trade Commission’s challenge to Kroger Co.’s $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons Cos. tees up a new antitrust argument impacting labor markets: The deal would hurt competition among unionized grocery workers.

The FTC’s emphasis on the effect on unions brings a fresh dimension to its interest in using competition law to police labor. The FTC move against the deal between the two largest unionized US grocery chains highlights collective bargaining as a competition concern.

“This is not the first time any federal agency has challenged a deal based on effects on workers. But this is absolutely the first time any federal agency has challenged a deal based on a theory of harm in a unionized labor market, specifically,” said John Newman, a law professor at the University of Miami and former FTC Bureau of Competition official.

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