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 WarrenSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' MORE (D-Mass.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes Harris to appear in CNN climate town hall after backlash 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 BrownBank watchdogs approve rule to loosen ban on risky Wall Street trades Dayton mayor assigned extra security following verbal spat with Trump The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape MORE (D-Ohio), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinAmerica is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction Financial aid fraud is wrong — but overcorrection could hurt more students Democrats denounce Trump's attack on Cummings: 'These are not the words of a patriot' MORE (D-Md.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Overnight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies 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 SandersBernie SandersSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' MORE (D-Calif) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' 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.