Source: Queens Gazette: I On Politics

By John Toscano

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) requested on June 12 that the chair of the Joint Economic Committee hold a hearing on labor mobility, an issue that affects wages and economic growth. Maloney, the Senior House Democrat on the committee, has repeatedly expressed concern with the fact that wages for many Americans have stagnated in recent decades. She also has sought to investigate the reasons for the relatively slow percentage growth in the Gross National Product.

“When Americans cannot easily move to a better paying job because of fear of reprisal or other consequences, for example losing their health benefits, they have less power to negotiate for higher pay. These hardworking Americans also are increasingly constrained by non-compete clauses and non-disclosure agreements they are forced to sign, limiting their ability to take a better-paying job with a competitor. This is unacceptable and clearly hurts Americans who are trying to make a living and provide for their families. The JEC needs to have a hearing to investigate these important issues,” said Rep. Maloney.

Anti-competitive contracts also inhibit the free mixing of ideas and talent, so-called “knowledge spillovers,” that have been a driving force of technical innovation. Research suggests that the fact that California does not enforce non-compete contracts is partly responsible for its vibrant tech sector.  Parts of the country that enforce non-compete contracts have suffered from “brain drain” and lost productivity.

It is estimated that approximately one in five Americans are bound by anti-competitive labor agreements.

The issue of labor mobility is a nonpartisan one. Members of both parties agree on the need to support the conditions necessary for American workers to maximize their earning potential, for the United States to remain a world leader in innovation and for boosting productivity.