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FTC Commissioner Bedoya Says Gig Workers Can Organize Without Fearing Antitrust

 |  April 11, 2023

Alvaro Bedoya, a Democratic FTC commissioner, stated that independent contractors, including those who work for Uber Technologies, Lyft and DoorDash are not prohibited by antitrust law from collectively seeking improved pay and working conditions, reported Bloomberg. 

Bedoya’s comments signify a change in the FTC’s stance on labor. In 2017, the agency opposed a Seattle law that aimed to permit collective bargaining for Uber and Lyft drivers, citing antitrust law violations.

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“Congress has made it clear that worker organizing and collective bargaining are not violations of the antitrust laws,” Bedoya said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. “From the beginning, American antitrust law aimed to protect worker organizing – not limit it.”

According to Bedoya, antitrust law typically limits independent contractors, the classification of most gig companies’ workers, from creating groups similar to unions. He stated at a conference in Salt Lake City that the labor exemption has been interpreted too restrictively by courts, and that contractors who are largely controlled by a company should be exempt.

Under the leadership of Chair Lina Khan, the FTC has adopted a more assertive stance on antitrust issues, with a focus on the largest corporations. Bedoya, one of three Democratic commissioners, serves alongside Khan, as the FTC has no Republican members at present. In September, the agency issued a policy statement pledging to take action against deceptive or anticompetitive practices targeting gig workers.