Press Release

Open Markets, AFL-CIO, SEIU, and Over 60 Signatories Demand the FTC Ban Worker Non-Compete Clauses

Washington, D.C. — The Open Markets Institute, the AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and over 60 other signatories — including labor organizations, public interest groups, and legal scholars — have filed a demand to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today to ban worker non-compete clauses. The petition calls on the FTC to use its power to issue a federal rule to ban the practice nationwide.

Employers across a range of industries require workers to accept a non-compete clause as a condition of employment. These unjust contracts deprive tens of millions of workers of the freedom to accept a job, take new opportunities, or to start a business in the same line of work or industry after they leave their current job. Amazon, for example, previously prohibited warehouse workers from working for a current or future competitor of the retail giant anywhere in the country for 18 months after leaving.

Non-competes impact workers in a variety of industries and vocations, including camp counselors, engineers, fast food workers, hair stylists, physicians, and yoga instructors. At a time when fewer workers are represented by unions, the right to leave is the only source of real bargaining power for many and it’s especially critical for workers subject to mistreatment on the job or faced with low wages. Non-competes can compel workers to stay in discriminatory or hostile work environments without the option to take their skills elsewhere.

“Through non-compete clauses, employers deprive workers of the freedom to leave for greener employment pastures and to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities,” said Open Markets Legal Director Sandeep Vaheesan. “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.”

Individual signatories to the petition include Berkeley labor law professor Catherine Fisk, University of San Diego labor and employment law professor Orly Lobel, Loyola University Chicago antitrust professor Spencer Weber Waller, and Wayne State University labor law professor Sanjukta Paul.

Read the full petition here.

FULL LIST OF SIGNATORIES ON THE PETITION

  • OPEN MARKETS INSTITUTE
  • AFL-CIO
  • ARTIST RIGHTS ALLIANCE
  • CENTER FOR POPULAR DEMOCRACY
  • COWORKER.ORG
  • DEMAND PROGRESS EDUCATION FUND
  • ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE
  • EIG
  • INSTITUTE FOR LOCAL SELF-RELIANCE
  • LAKE RESEARCH PARTNERS
  • MAKE THE ROAD NEW YORK
  • NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PROJECT
  • ORGANIZATION UNITED FOR RESPECT
  • PUBLIC CITIZEN
  • REVOLVING DOOR PROJECT
  • ROOSEVELT INSTITUTE
  • SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION
  • TOWARDS JUSTICE
  • UFCW
  • UNITE HERE

AND IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES

  • ALAN HYDE
  • AMY KASTELY
  • ANN C. MCGINLEY
  • ARIANA R. LEVINSON
  • BARBARA BUCHOLTZ
  • BEN TEMPLIN
  • CAROL CHOMSKY
  • CATHERINE FISK
  • CHARLOTTE GARDEN
  • CHRIS ODINET
  • CHRYSTIN ONDERSMA
  • COLIN P. MARKS
  • CYNTHIA HO
  • DALIÉ JIMÉNEZ
  • EDWARD JANGER
  • EILEEN APPELBAUM
  • FRANK PASQUALE
  • HENRY DRUMMONDS
  • JANE FLANAGAN
  • JEFFREY W. STEMPEL
  • JOAN VOGEL
  • KAREN CROSS
  • KATHLEEN ENGEL
  • LAUREN E. WILLIS
  • MARTHA T. MCCLUSKEY
  • MEREDITH A. MUNRO
  • NANCY MODESITT
  • NICOLAS CORNELL
  • ORLY LOBEL
  • PAMELA FOOHEY
  • PAUL SECUNDA
  • RACHEL ARNOW-RICHMAN
  • RICK BALES
  • RICHARD CARLSON
  • ROBERT H. LANDE
  • RUBEN J. GARCIA
  • SANJUKTA PAUL
  • SARA STERNBERG GREENE
  • SHAUHIN TALESH
  • SPENCER WEBER WALLER
  • SUSAN BLOCK-LIEB
  • TODD RAKOFF
  • V.B. DUBAL
  • VIVA R. MOFFAT
  • WILLIAM S. DODGE
  • YVETTE LIEBESMAN

Press Contact: Stella Roque at Open Markets Institute, [email protected]