Warren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses

Warren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses
© Stefani Reynolds

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJulián Castro: Trump should be impeached for trying to obstruct justice 'in very concrete ways' Poll: Biden tops Sanders nationally Pete Buttigieg: 'God doesn't have a political party' MORE (D-Mass.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharStudent slams Klobuchar for trying to classify pizza sauce as vegetable Pete Buttigieg: 'God doesn't have a political party' The Hill's Morning Report - Dem candidates sell policy as smart politics MORE (D-Minn.) signed onto a letter calling for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to limit non-compete clauses for workers.

Warren and Klobuchar, two of more than a dozen Democratic presidential candidates, said the clauses hurt roughly 30 million workers by limiting their abilities to tack on additional work to supplement their income or find new employment in a similar field for a period of time after leaving a job. 

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“We write to urge the Federal Trade Commission to use its rulemaking authority, along with other tools, in order to combat the scourge of non-compete clauses rigging our economy against workers,” Warren and Klobuchar, along with four other Democrats, wrote. “Non-compete clauses harm employees by limiting their ability to find alternate work, which leaves them with little leverage to bargain for better wages or working conditions with their immediate employer.”

“The Federal Trade Commission has a duty to protect not only consumers, but also workers. Currently, workers are suffering serious anti-competitive harms from the proliferation of non-competes in the economy,” they added. “It is not enough that the Federal Trade Commission shares our concerns about these actions. It must act decisively to address them.” 

The letter, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), requested the FTC respond within 30 days with any action it is taking to curtail the clause. Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Budowsky: 2020 Dems should debate on Fox Overnight Health Care: How 2020 Dems want to overhaul health care | Brooklyn parents sue over measles vaccination mandate | Measles outbreak nears record MORE (D-Ohio), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Senate Dem: Trump 'using immigrants as pawns' Bottom Line MORE (D-Md.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyAmazon hiring alcohol lobbyist Tlaib rallies in support of Green New Deal at Detroit town hall Ben & Jerry's backs Green New Deal: 'We have to act now' MORE (D-Mass.) also signed the memo.

The message came partly in response to a petition signed by over 60 organizations and individuals for the FTC to ban non-compete clauses.

“Through non-compete clauses, employers deprive workers of the freedom to leave for greener employment pastures and to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities,” Open Markets Legal Director Sandeep Vaheesan, whose group signed the petition, said in a statement. “By restricting job market mobility for millions of workers, non-competes depress wages, reduce the creation of new businesses, and prevent workers from leaving unjust and toxic workplaces.” 

Warren and Klobuchar are running in a crowded Democratic primary field against other high-profile candidates like former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAndrew Cuomo: Biden has best chance at 'main goal' of beating Trump Poll: Buttigieg tops Harris, O'Rourke as momentum builds Buttigieg responds to accusation of pushing a 'hate hoax' about Pence MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJulián Castro: Trump should be impeached for trying to obstruct justice 'in very concrete ways' Poll: Buttigieg tops Harris, O'Rourke as momentum builds Trump Jr. slams 2020 Dems as 'more concerned' about rights of murderers than legal gun owners MORE (D-Calif) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHarris adds another to her list of endorsements in South Carolina The Hill's Morning Report - Dem candidates sell policy as smart politics 2020 Dems rebuke Trump on Iran, say they'd put US back in nuclear deal MORE (D-N.J.). Nearly all the candidates are wary of drawing the ire of the party’s progressive flank, which favors increased workers’ rights.