ANTITRUST IMPLICATIONS OF LABOR PLATFORMS By Marshall Steinbaum

Labor platforms like Uber have mostly escaped antitrust scrutiny, despite the apparent legal risk that, by coordinating pricing among tens of thousands of “independent contractors,” they might run afoul of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. On the other hand, the enforcement agencies have indicated that collective bargaining by those contractors against the platform does trigger liability under Section 1. This piece argues that this disparate antitrust treatment of powerful platforms versus their counterparties plays a significant role in carving out legal space for the labor platforms, in the regulatory black hole that has opened up as both labor and antitrust law have retracted.