Tuesday, June 27, 2017

[NJFAC] Fwd:

Another Way To Subordinate Workers                                                             Frank Stricker
            There are so many ways that American employees are disempowered today that it is hard to keep up with them. We all know about employer resistance to unionism, inadequate enforcement of labor laws, and employers' threats to move businesses elsewhere if workers don't knuckle under.  But there's one gimmick that imprisons a fifth of work force and has received less attention: non-compete clauses.  
            New employees, sometimes on their first day of work--that is, after they've said good-bye to other job offers--are pressed to agree in writing that they will not take a job with a competitor for a specified number of years.  The benevolent interpretation of this is that companies have a right to protect trade secrets. But in fact such contracts make it hard for workers to move with useful work experience and improved general skills--not trade secrets--to other companies or even to start their own businesses. Not all states have non-compete laws, but where they exist they tend to keep employee compensation down. If you cannot try for a better job at another company in your industry, you will have to change lines of work, accept what you get where you work, or dig ditches--unless you are a digger who has signed a non-compete clause. And the latter case is not a joke. These issues are discussed in a long, thoughtful piece by Conor Dougherty at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/13/business/noncompete-clauses.html
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Frank Stricker is on the board of NJFAC and is completing a book entitled What Ails the American Worker? Unemployment and Crummy Jobs: History, Explanations, and Remedies.



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