From American Wage Alert <[email protected]>
Subject re: President Biden’s executive order ...
Date July 23, 2021 3:45 PM
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URGENT NEWS: BIDEN MOVES TO LIMIT ABUSIVE NONCOMPETE AGREEMENTS

President Biden just defended American workers – and now, it's time for Congress to follow his lead. Sign our petition before it closes at midnight tonight.

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We're following up on Paul's last message with important news: In an executive order, President Biden directed the Federal Trade Commission to ban or limit abusive noncompete agreements to protect American workers from exploitative labor practices.

Noncompete agreements were originally created to stop executive level employees from sharing proprietary information with competitors, but now corporations are using these agreements to stop low-level workers from earning higher wages at competing employers. Even employees at some fast food sandwich chains are forced to sign noncompete agreements that say they can't work for other sandwich restaurants in the same city.

Between one quarter and one half of private-sector workers in America are forced to sign a noncompete – even though most of these workers don't have access to information that could harm their employer. That's why President Biden's move to limit these agreements is such a big deal – but Congress could get it done even faster.

We're calling on Congress to follow President Biden's lead and pass legislation to ban noncompete agreements – and we need 321 more people to sign our petition before midnight tonight. We're still missing your response, and we're counting on you to add your name now.

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Thanks for stepping up to defend American workers. We really appreciate your support. 

Civic Action

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From: Paul
Date: Fri, Jun 11, 2021
Subject: Corporations: using every loophole possible to screw over working Americans


SIGN THE PETITION: Tell Congress to ban excessive and abusive noncompete agreements.

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Goal: 10,000 signatures

For decades, here's how the job market worked in America: If you were a hard worker, you could ask for a raise with the leverage of going to work somewhere else that would offer more money. The ability to sell your labor to the highest bidder kept wages high and encouraged bosses to compete for the best workers. But now, noncompete and no-poach agreements are being unethically used across the country to keep low-income workers from seeking better pay and working conditions, severely limiting their future job opportunities and long-term earning potential.

Noncompetes were designed to protect a company’s proprietary information by limiting the ability of executive-level employees to jump from a company to one of its competitors for a certain amount of time. They’re meant to stop executives from sharing inside information about corporations with their business rivals. But, of course, we’ve seen corporations from tech companies to fast food chains use noncompete agreements to box lower wage workers in, with no recourse to change jobs for better pay, benefits, and workplace standards.

In some of the worst, most-publicized cases, even employees at a sub sandwich restaurant were forced to sign noncompete agreements that said they couldn’t get a job making sandwiches anywhere else. The abuse is rampant – a 2019 study from the Economic Policy Institute found that somewhere between one quarter and one half of private-sector workers in America were subject to noncompete agreements – even though the vast majority of them do not have access to any proprietary information that could be used to harm their employer. Companies have used this as a way to keep low-income workers from being able to leave and secure a better job, and everything that comes with it.

Noncompetes eliminate the only real leverage American employees have in the job market – the option to leave and find better pay, benefits, and workplace conditions elsewhere.

In a recent report, the Economic Policy Institute found that noncompetes, along with secret no-poach agreements among franchises, are one of the major factors that has contributed to shrinking the paychecks of the typical American worker by roughly $10 per hour over the last 40 years. These clandestine agreements among franchise owners – which directly violate antitrust laws – made it impossible for an employee at one franchise to seek employment at another, further suppressing wages and stagnating the job market.

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Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office began investigating these unlawful agreements in 2019 and found that over 200 companies with franchises in the state had some form of a no-poach clause. Many of them were national franchises, which meant this impacted tens of millions of workers across the country – so Attorney General Ferguson took action, threatening legal action unless these franchises eliminated their no-poach agreements nationwide. Over the course of a year, many of them did. Additionally, Ferguson’s leadership led the Washington Legislature to pass a law that voids noncompetes for employees who earn less than $100,000 annually. 

This is incredible progress for workers in Washington state, but your action is urgently needed to fully eliminate the unlawful use of noncompete and no-poach clauses nationwide. The Biden administration has shown a willingness to address this critical issue, but we must take action now to urge our lawmakers in Congress to step up now to defend America’s workers. 

We’re counting on 5,000 grassroots activists to join us before midnight tonight – but we’re still missing your name: Sign our petition now to demand Congress ban excessive and abusive noncompete agreements.

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Thank you,

Paul

Are you fired up to finally build an economy that works for all Americans? Ready to learn more from the world’s leading economic and political thinkers? Listen to the Pitchfork Economics podcast now!

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