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CWA union backs anti-merger bill that could end "anticompetitive" deals

The CWA believes the legislation will protect workers and help scrutinize mergers like the Microsoft-Activision deal.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

March 16, 2022

2 Min Read

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union has backed a new Prohibiting Anticompetitive Mergers Act that would allow the Justice Department (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to automatically block mergers worth more than $5 billion without needing to go to court.

As noted by Politico, the bill would specifically require the DOJ and FTC to rework their merger processes to make it more difficult for companies to challenge their decisions, while also granting both agencies the ability to reverse mergers if they "materially harm" workers, consumers, and small business, or eventually result in a more than 50 percent market share.

The CWA, which is the largest communications and media labor union in the United States, said the legislation will help "put an end to anticompetitive mergers that destroy jobs, put downward pressure on workers' wages, and leave the communities where we live and work to pick up the pieces."

The union has also suggested the bill -- backed by senior Democrats including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- would encourage regulators like the FTC to more closely scrutinize deals such as Microsoft's staggering $68.7 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard, which it believes could harm workers' rights.

"Activision Blizzard employees are facing rampant surveillance, intimidation, and union-busting tactics in response to their efforts to change a culture of worker abuse and discrimination," said the CWA in a statement.

"Sen. Warren’s bill would ensure the merger’s impact on these workers is prioritized by federal regulators and add a necessary check on corporate mergers by directing agencies to review and reject potential deals that would harm workers’ ability to secure better futures, as Activision workers are trying to do."

The CWA recently joined other advocacy groups in calling on the FTC to thoroughly investigate the Microsoft-Activision deal over fears it could "lead to an undue concentration of market power."

At this stage, it's worth remembering the Prohibiting Anticompetitive Mergers Act is unlikely to become law during the current legislative cycle as a result of the slim Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate.

Still, its introduction serves as a loud warning shot to those companies -- including many in the games industry -- who have more lucrative M&A opportunities in their sights.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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