UConn Magazine: Monopoly Busters

Daniel Hanley ’12 (BUS), ’19 JD and Jackie Filson ’16 (CLAS) lead a growing anti-monopoly movement at the Open Markets Institute in D.C.

Anti-monopoly crusaders Daniel Hanley, left, and Jackie Filson at the UConn Law School in Hartford last December.

Anti-monopoly crusaders Daniel Hanley, left, and Jackie Filson at the UConn Law School in Hartford.(Peter Morenus / UConn Photo)

America’s economy is dominated by monopolies like Google and Tyson Foods that harm workers, suppress innovation, and threaten democracy, say Daniel Hanley ’12 (BUS), ’19 JD and Jackie Filson ’16 (CLAS). The alums lead a growing anti-monopoly movement at the Open Markets Institute, a Washington-based nonprofit seeking to restore antitrust laws to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of opportunity, wealth, and power. We asked these alumni about the growing movement and the exciting work they’re doing.

How did each of you end up working at Open Markets?

Daniel: After graduation, I committed myself to public service, joining Teach For America in Lowndes County, Alabama. There I came to understand how monopolistic companies such as Walmart are destroying economic opportunities for individuals. I became curious about how to use antitrust law to tame dominant corporations, so I pursued my law degree at UConn where I took classes with exceptional professors, such as Alexandra Lahav, James Kwak, Hillary Greene, and Robert Langer, who taught me antitrust concepts and how they can remedy broader social injustices.

Jackie: Studying human rights and English set me up perfectly for my first job in strategic communications for Food & Water Watch, an environmental advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. I learned a lot there about the governmental failures that allow giant corporations to monopolize markets while treating workers poorly and manipulating prices. That’s how I ended up at Open Markets working to stop Big Ag, Big Tech, Big Pharma, Big Everything — in hopes of helping to create a more just, fair, and equitable democracy for all people.

What are some of the major fights you’re in now?

Jackie: Open Markets is leading an effort to unify antitrust with other movements in labor, racial justice, and farm reform. We work closely with prominent groups like the Athena Coalition, Family Farm Action, and Color of Change to stop predatory monopolies, especially those in Big Tech. Last September, Daniel co-authored a report exposing Amazon’s abusive union-busting surveillance practices and detailing clear policy solutions. Right now, we’re focused on presenting the Biden administration with antitrust remedies it can implement without Congress, such as bright-line merger rules to limit the power of corporations.

Read on for more.