Credo Action

Investigate the Amazon-Whole Foods mega-merger

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Petition to members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees:

"Hold hearings on the Amazon-Whole Foods merger and investigate the potential for Amazon’s growing monopoly to cost jobs, lower wages, and crush local businesses."

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    Investigate the Amazon-Whole Foods mega-merger

    Wall Street loves corporate mergers and acquisitions. Big banks, unethical hedge funds, and rich CEO’s all make millions by pushing big companies to get even bigger, while the rest of us suffer as small businesses close and working people are stuck in low-wage jobs or with no job at all.1

    The proposed merger between Amazon.com and Whole Foods is no different. Amazon already controls 43 percent of all U.S. online retail sales, 74 percent of e-book sales and is on track to be the largest seller of clothes in the country. Amazon also has a history of slashing prices to put competitors out of business and exploiting independent businesses that sell on its platform.2

    We deserve to know more before Wall Street pushes through another merger that hurts the rest of us. That’s why we’re teaming up with our friends at the Open Markets program at New America to insist that Congress must hold immediate investigative hearings into the consequences of this mega-merger – before it’s too late.

    Tell House and Senate Judiciary Committees: Investigate the Amazon-Whole Foods mega-merger.

    Like Walmart, Amazon’s convenience comes at a cost. When Diapers.com became successful, Amazon sold diapers at loss until the company folded and sold itself to Amazon. The company used its massive power to threaten book publishers to drop to starvation prices. It can boost or kill a local business with one click, knows everything about what you want to buy and has a hidden track record of exploiting workers.3,4,5

    Two companies that people like on their own can be dangerous when combined. A century ago, railroad monopolies had the power to tax farmers and independent businesses and decide which companies live or die. Today’s mega-companies, like Amazon, have much the same power. Usually a big gamble on an acquisition causes a company’s share price to fall. But after Amazon announced its plans to acquire Whole Foods, other companies’ prices collapsed instead. Amazon is now basically too big to fail, and that’s a big problem for anyone who works for a living or runs a small business.6

    Whole Foods’ commitment to sourcing its products locally keeps small farmers and producers in business. No one knows what will happen to those farms – or legions of other small businesses – now that Amazon is determined to take over the retail industry.7 Today’s massive corporations simply have too much power over everything in our lives, from our private consumer data to our jobs and local businesses. We cannot let Wall Street continue driving consolidation and leaving us helpless to deal with the consequences.

    Tell House and Senate Judiciary Committees: Investigate the Amazon-Whole Foods mega-merger.

    Ever since the Reagan administration, our government has effectively given up on “antitrust” – slowing corporations from getting too much power or breaking up major monopolies. Antitrust officials have too often ignored evidence that monopolies and massive companies result in lower wages, job losses, and environmental damage. As long as companies claim they will be more efficient, mergers are allowed to go through.8 It’s long past time for the federal government to stop playing defense and start using its power under the Sherman Antitrust Act to stop anti-competitive behavior from harming our economy.

    The good news is that there is some bipartisan agreement about getting tougher on out-of-control large companies.9 But the bigger a company gets the more political power it has – so it will take constant advocacy on the part of CREDO members to make sure our leaders investigate the consequences of the Amazon-Whole Foods mega-merger and stand up for local communities.

    Tell House and Senate Judiciary Committees: Investigate the Amazon-Whole Foods mega-merger.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. David Dayen, “Bring Back Antitrust,” The American Prospect, November 9, 2015.
    2. Lina Khan, “Amazon Bites Off Even More Monopoly Power,” The New York Times, June 21, 2017.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Matt Stoller, “America’s Amazon Problem,” HuffPost, June 16, 2017.
    5. Simon Head, “Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers,” Salon, Feb. 23, 2014.
    6. Alex Shephard, “How Amazon Is Changing the Whole Concept of Monopoly,” The New Republic, June 19, 2017.
    7. Stoller, “America’s Amazon Problem.”
    8. Dayen, “Bring Back Antitrust.”
    9. David Dayen, “Where is Amy Klobuchar?” Naked Capitalism, May 9, 2016.