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Evidently Jimmy John’s doesn’t want its employees using their “freaky fast” sandwich-making skills at other sandwich shops. The company, along with some other retailers, requires low-wage workers to sign agreements specifying that they will not work for competitors if they leave their jobs.

In an interview with the Star Tribune, U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., called such agreements “ridiculous.”

Franken said it is disturbing that low-wage workers would be asked to sign a non-compete contract, which is more typically required of highly skilled workers who might take valuable customers or a brand presence to a competitor. Broadcasters often are subject to non-compete clauses to prevent them from immediately going to a rival TV station.

To make matters worse, Franken said, the workers often are not told that their jobs include the restriction as a condition of their employment.

Franken and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., have introduced the Mobility and Opportunity for Vulnerable Employees — or MOVE — Act. The bill would ban non-compete agreements for employees making less than $15 an hour or $31,200 annually.

It also would require employers to inform prospective employees at any level of pay if they might be asked to sign a non-compete agreement.

Non-compete agreements for low-wage workers discourage those employees from seeking higher-paying jobs within the same industry, according to a news release from Franken’s office.


Nolan’s resolution to change campaign finances unlikely

In what will likely be more of an exercise in free speech than a resolution that gets passed, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan of Minnesota has introduced a wish list of campaign finance reforms into the House.

Nolan’s Restore Democracy Resolution, dropped in the legislative hopper Thursday, proposes a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that gave corporations the same standing as individuals when it comes to campaign spending.

The Democrat’s resolution, which seems likely to die in committee in the Republican-controlled chamber, also seeks to limit political advertising to 60 days before an election. It calls for creation of “a small donor and public finance system for Congressional elections, which will ensure that Congress is responsible to voters instead of well-financed special interests.”

If that were not enough to turn off GOP leaders, Nolan wants online voter registration. Other initiatives include getting rid of strangely shaped congressional districts that permit the dominance of one party and not allowing floor votes on any measure that has not been heard and passed out of a committee.

“The likelihood that any of this becomes the law of the land in this congress is not good,” Nolan admitted to the Star Tribune. “But the public support for these things is there, and it is important to put it down in black and white.”