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 WarrenDon't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates Poll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place Senate Health Committee advances bipartisan package to lower health costs MORE (D-Mass.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPelosi: Congress will receive election security briefing in July 2020 Dems say they will visit Homestead facility holding migrant children The Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate 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 BrownHouse panel to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency project Democrats talk up tax credits to counter Trump law Facebook's new cryptocurrency raises red flags for critics MORE (D-Ohio), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocrats leery of Sanders plan to cancel student loan debt Proposed bipartisan kidney legislation takes on kidney disease epidemic in America Lawmakers raise security concerns about China building NYC subway cars MORE (D-Md.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Investigation finds federal agencies failed to address cyber vulnerabilities | Officials crack down on illegal robocallers | Warren offers plan to secure elections | Senators grill Google exec on 'persuasive technology' YouTube critics urge FTC to crack down on handling of children's videos Senate set to bypass Iran fight amid growing tensions 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 Sanders2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again Don't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place 2020 Dems say they will visit Homestead facility holding migrant children Warren visits migrant care shelter, says children being marched 'like little prisoners' MORE (D-Calif) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker calls for hearings on reports of ICE using solitary confinement Poll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place The Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate 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.