Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Whaa?? Amazon Enforces Noncompete Agreements on Minimum-Wage Workers

And Amazon is not the only one. Imagine sandwich makers.

Heaven forbid your workers would jump to Subway.

In an article mostly about whether Silicon Valley thrived while Boston's Route 128 tech corridor flopped -- possibly because California banned noncompete agreements while Massachusetts allowed them -- we learn that some corporations force workers to sign noncompete agreements, even for minimum wage jobs.
The same year, the Huffington Post reported that Jimmy John's was requiring its sandwich makers and delivery drivers to sign a contract promising not to work for a competing sandwich maker — "any business which derives more than ten percent (10%) of its revenue from selling submarine, hero-type, deli-style, pita and/or wrapped or rolled sandwiches" — within 3 miles of any Jimmy John's location for two years after leaving the company.
Amazon has required even temporary, minimum wage workers in its warehouses to sign noncompete agreements. A Massachusetts summer camp banned its counselors from working at a competing camp the following summer.
Let's be clear: The only reason corporations would enforce noncompete agreements on low-wage workers would be to suppress wages overall. It's as odious as it is obvious.

Later in the article it's pointed out that as mean-spirited as this behavior is -- how much longer can I shop at Amazon as I learn what a dick Jeff Bezos is? -- what really is at stake is the simple notion of freedom, let alone fair treatment of labor. Kudos to California for realizing that freedom might also equal innovation.

Note. The reason for noncompete agreements was originally because they were thought to protect innovation. Silicon Valley may have proven otherwise.

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