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 WarrenBiden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll 2020 Democratic candidates support Las Vegas casino workers on debate day Sanders takes lead in new Hill/HarrisX poll MORE (D-Mass.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean Klobuchar2020 Democratic candidates support Las Vegas casino workers on debate day Democratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe What to watch in the debate tonight 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 BrownTrump pick for Fed seat takes bipartisan fire On The Money: Deficit spikes 25 percent through January | Mnuchin declines to say why Trump pulled Treasury nominee who oversaw Roger Stone case | Lawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law MORE (D-Ohio), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocrats worried about Trump's growing strength Senate Democrats queasy over Sanders as nominee Schumer: Trump address 'demagogic, undignified, highly partisan' MORE (D-Md.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyKennedy, Markey spar over experience in first Senate primary debate The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg to face off with rivals at Nevada debate Massachusetts Democrats question deployment of Border Patrol teams to sanctuary cities 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 SandersBiden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Biden will go after Bloomberg, Sanders at Las Vegas debate, aides say MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisDemocratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe CNN signs Andrew Yang as contributor How the media fall in and out of love with candidates MORE (D-Calif) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe CNN signs Andrew Yang as contributor Bloomberg qualifies for South Carolina primary 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.