Union members are covered by collective employment contracts that set wages, benefits, scheduling issues and other working conditions for the workers concerned. Lack of bargaining power can lead workers to sign non-competition clauses, Lobel says, and these treaties further undermine their bargaining power. Because competition prohibitions make job loss even more dangerous by limiting employment opportunities, agreements can allow workers to connect to their current workplace, making them less likely to deal with complaints with management or try to find better or more suitable employment. “During the employment and 18 months after the date of separation, the worker will not be directly or indirectly, on his own behalf or on behalf of another organization (. For example, agent, partner or consultant) the development, manufacture, marketing or sale of products or services intended to compete with a product or service, which is supplied or provided by Amazon (or sold in the future of Amazon) staff have worked or assisted or received or received confidential information.” The extension of the low-wage work non-compete clause was known across the country last year, when the Huffington Post reported that Jimmy John had some of his permanent collaborators sign non-cumulative agreements covering sandwich sellers within a three-mile radius of Jimmy John`s sites. Members of the U.S. Congress have called for a federal investigation into the sandwich chain`s use of the agreements. The Amazon contract appears more extreme: not only is it pushed towards temporary workers who have inevitably reduced their chances when they are fired, but it is also explicit in its potentially unlimited geographical scope. Non-compete agreements are more common in states that are more likely to enforce treaties, according to preliminary results from a study conducted by scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and the University of Michigan. The document, which surveyed more than 10,000 workers across the country through an online survey, also shows that non-competition bans are widespread in occupations that often require little training. The survey found that at least 12 percent of U.S. workers or at least 19 million Americans work under the agreements. The newspaper found that about 9 percent of the transportation and warehouse workers who responded to the survey were working under non-competitive contracts.
(This statistic is an underestimate, says Evan Starr, a co-author of the study, because many people who sign non-rewards don`t know they did.) The document also states that the millions of low-skilled workers who sign the contracts are “much less likely to negotiate their non-compete clauses, but receive little in return for signing, but can bear considerable costs.” Several former Amazon employees in Kansas and Tennessee said they had vague memories of signing a non-compete agreement, but they weren`t paying much attention. Two employees who left Amazon`s storage jobs in 2012 and 2013 said they have no recollection of signing a non-compete agreement. It is not known when Amazon began signing this agreement, and the company did not respond to questions from The Verge about it. Two other Amazon employees, approached by The Verge, cited the confidentiality agreement they had signed with the company by refusing to share their experience for the story.