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

Stefani Reynolds

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (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. 

{mosads}“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 Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Ed Markey (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 Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Nearly all the candidates are wary of drawing the ire of the party’s progressive flank, which favors increased workers’ rights.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Ben Cardin Bernie Sanders Cory Booker Ed Markey Elizabeth Warren Sherrod Brown

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