Amendment One: Making Georgia less competitive

On the ballot, it sounds so wonderful that you can practically hear bluebirds singing:

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to make Georgia more economically competitive by authorizing legislation to uphold reasonable competitive agreements?” Amendment One asks.

Of course you want to make Georgia more competitive. Of course you favor “reasonable competitive agreements” — opposing them would by definition be “unreasonable.” So of course you’re going to vote yes, right?

Well, not so fast. Let’s look at what the amendment would actually do. The state constitution currently bars contracts “defeating or lessening competition.” Amendment One effectively strikes that free-enterprise language regarding one important area of law.

According to supporters, the change is needed to make it easier to use noncompete employment contracts. Once signed, such contracts bar workers who leave a job from immediately taking a position with a competing firm or starting a competitor of their own. Those who leave anyway must wait until the contract expires, often two years or longer.

From a company’s point of view, such contracts have several advantages. The most legitimate is that noncompete clauses keep critical employees from taking inside information and immediately using it against their previous employer.

Other impacts are less benign. Such contracts discourage the rise of new competitors within an industry, and they limit worker freedom. Workers know that if they quit or get fired, they won’t be able to work in their field until the noncompete contract expires.

Until now, our state constitution has made such agreements hard to enforce. Amendment One is an effort led by the state’s business community to eliminate that constitutional obstacle.

According to state Rep. Kevin Levitas, D-Atlanta, who sponsored the proposed amendment and related legislation, the change will bring jobs.

“It will make Georgia more economically competitive by bringing our laws into line with our surrounding states,” Levitas said, pointing out that the House and Senate passed the proposal by large margins.

Legislators have already passed a new law that will take effect as soon as voters agree to change the constitution. That new law gives noncompete clauses considerably more bite.

Current state law — rendered void by its constitutional problems — at least gave some protection to workers who were fired for no fault of their own. That made sense: Getting fired or laid off is bad enough; getting laid off and told that by law you can’t get a new job in your career field for two or three years is really rubbing it in.

The new law contains no such safeguard.

The previous law also limited the geographic area in which a noncompete clause could be enforced, requiring employers to describe the area in writing. The new law contains no such restriction, meaning a noncompete contract could conceivably be enforced nationally.

For some, those changes might be worthwhile if they bring jobs to Georgia. But research suggests the opposite.

The classic case study compares Massachusetts, which allows strict noncompete contracts, and California, which bars them. At one point, the two states boasted comparable high-tech industries, but California’s Silicon Valley quickly outgrew Boston’s Route 128.

Why? Well, California allowed workers to form new, more nimble companies, creating competition, while Massachusetts protected existing firms at the expense of innovation.

A 2009 study by the Harvard School of Business focused on Michigan, which in 1985 passed a law much like that now on the Georgia ballot. By tracking patents, the study found that job mobility for inventors in Michigan fell significantly once the law changed.

“States that continue to allow widespread use of such agreements as a way to protect established firms may instead be inadvertently creating a ‘brain drain’ of the very workers needed to create and build successful new firms,” the Harvard study warns.

As an aside, that study also notes the first known legal case involving a noncompete contract. In 1414, a clothing dyer filed suit trying to bar a former employee from working in the same town for six months. The suit “was met with disdain from the judge, who threatened the plaintiff himself with jail time for having sought to restrict a citizen from practicing his trade,” the study reports.

I think that judge had it right.

74 comments Add your comment

josef nix

October 1st, 2010
6:56 am

Two quick points on the way out the door. When I began to read this, I thought that this was something out of the Middle Ages. I was wrong. Even in 1414 it was thought a bad idea, Second point, Levitas has a D after his name. Both parties are in the same bed with bidness it seems. Oh, yes, and Jay did identify him by party. Keep that in mind when y’all go to bashing him for not criticizing them, too, or when going to blaming the GOP for everything negative coming at the expense of the well being of the general public.

Caveman

October 1st, 2010
6:57 am

More job killing legislation from Republicans. No surprise there.

Road Scholar

October 1st, 2010
7:05 am

Just because he’s a D, it doesn’t mean it is automatically bad. jn, did you read that it passed both houses by a large margin? Repub support? Of course. Repubs restricting how the public can persue their carrers.

So, Jay we can restrict workers from getting a new job with a competiter? Let’s place a 10 year moratorium on legislators becoming a lobbyist! Or becoming lawyers after they leave office since they do change the laws when they are in office!

This is bad legislation if it is what you say it is. It also misrepresents the results that it causes. The amendment should be thrown off the ballot until the wording is changed.

stands for decibels

October 1st, 2010
7:07 am

Until now, our state constitution has made such agreements hard to enforce. Amendment One is an effort led by the state’s business community to eliminate that constitutional obstacle.

Given that the business community surely focus-group tested the verbiage and polled this sucker prior to taking the trouble to get it on the ballot, the amendment will pass with flying colors, yes?

A well known GA politician once told me that in some counties of GA, they’d vote to reinstate slavery if given the chance. I thought at the time perhaps he was overstating things. I have since readjusted that appraisal.

stands for decibels

October 1st, 2010
7:16 am

Speaking of d-baggery, this bit of O’Keefe photoshopping is in extremely poor taste and I, too, had nothing to do with it.

GB

October 1st, 2010
7:24 am

Mr. Bookman’s summary of the law is incorrect. The law requires that non compete agreements have reasonable geographical limits, as well as limits regarding time and scope of prohiited activities. Furthermore, the law very clearly states that enforceable non compete agreements apply only to employees with certain duties and responsibilities.

Mr. Bookman makes this statement: “The previous law also limited the geographic area in which a noncompete clause could be enforced. The new law contains no such limit, meaning a noncompete contract could conceivably be enforced nationally.”

Here is what the law says:

“(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, enforcement of contracts that restrict competition during the term of a restrictive covenant, so long as such restrictions are reasonable in time, geographic area, and scope of prohibited activities, shall be permitted. However, enforcement of contracts that restrict competition after the term of employment, as distinguished from a customer nonsolicitation provision, as described in subsection (b) of Code Section 13-8-53, or a nondisclosure of confidential information provision, as described in subsection (e) of Code Section 13-8-53, shall not be permitted against any employee who does not, in the course of his or her employment:
(1) Customarily and regularly solicit for the employer customers or prospective customers;(2) Customarily and regularly engage in making sales or obtaining orders or contracts for products or services to be performed by others;(3) Perform the following duties:(A) Have a primary duty of managing the enterprise in which the employee is employed or of a customarily recognized department or subdivision thereof; (B) Customarily and regularly direct the work of two or more other employees; and (C) Have the authority to hire or fire other employees or have particular weight given to suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion, or any other change of status of other employees; or(4) Perform the duties of a key employee or of a professional.”

TaxPayer

October 1st, 2010
7:27 am

Well, someone has to stand up and protect the interests of the corporation. Anti-competitiveness was what made companies like Ma Bell so great in her day so it is only natural that corporations, the people behind this effort, would seek a return to those good old days and who better to get us there than Georgia’s good old boys. And what’s not to love about the wording of that amendment. It reeks Republican through and through. I wonder how many assembly-line workers will be trapped in their jobs as a result, once this amendment passes.

Jay

October 1st, 2010
7:30 am

GB, in the existing law, the non-compete clause is effective only in the geographic area where the EMPLOYEE formerly operated.

In the rewritten law, it is effective in the geographic area where the EMPLOYER operates, which of course is a much broader area.

Normal

October 1st, 2010
7:36 am

Don’t worry, y’all…
When Deal becomes Governor it will all be better. Deal will get indicted by the Feds for ethic violations. He will then take Georgia out of the Union and declare war. We will get our butts spanked, but the U.S. will pay reparations which will, in turn, bring jobs to Georgia and we will all live happily ever after…la la la…

stands for decibels

October 1st, 2010
7:37 am

It reeks Republican through and through.

perhaps but of course sellout “Democrats” support this kind of stuff as well. Obviously. Or did you miss the “Rep. Kevin Levitas, D-Atlanta, who sponsored the proposed amendment” bit in Jay’s piece?

stands for decibels

October 1st, 2010
7:38 am

So Jay, you still think coming down on the wrong side of card check was a bright idea?

Here’s a great universal truth: You give those [bleep]ers an inch and they take a mile.

carlosgvv

October 1st, 2010
7:42 am

At least Georgia is not in last place on this one. Without doubt, we have the best State Leglistature money can but.

Jay

October 1st, 2010
7:42 am

Yes, sfd, I still do. It’s not about picking sides, it’s about doing it right. And anonymous balloting is an inherently better system and less vulnerable to intimidation than collecting names on a petition or signing cards.

carlosgvv

October 1st, 2010
7:43 am

money can buy

TaxPayer

October 1st, 2010
7:44 am

sfd,

I made no claims regarding the support or lack thereof from either party either for or against said amendment. It reeks Republican… merely documents my impression of the deceptive format of said amendment as it is to be submitted to the voting populace for due consideration. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

Paul

October 1st, 2010
7:47 am

I think I’ve figured out who’s paying for this legislative push.

And if it passes, who’s gonna pay -

Paul

October 1st, 2010
7:48 am

Jay’s 7:42: an illustration of principle vs ideology.

Union

October 1st, 2010
7:53 am

as many have said.. the uncertainty of obama policies lend much to the current level of unemployment.. as the dems say.. voters are “stupid” anyway..

The classic case study compares Massachusetts, which allows strict noncompete contracts, and California, which bars them. At one point, the two states boasted comparable high-tech industries, but California’s Silicon Valley quickly outgrew Boston’s Route 128.

glad stanford, frederick terman and the federal funding that got poured in had nothing to do with the growth..

stands for decibels

October 1st, 2010
7:59 am

the uncertainty of obama policies lend much to the current level of unemployment..

Some of what Jay’s principled high mindedness is supporting.

barking frog

October 1st, 2010
8:02 am

Just say no.

Jay

October 1st, 2010
8:02 am

And for what it’s worth, the other four amendments on the ballot look fine as far as I can tell.

Joey

October 1st, 2010
8:09 am

Jay:

Because I witness you pushing very biased positions on so many other subjects that are clear to me, I dare not support your position on issues like this that are not clear to me.

But no worries your choir will vote as you instruct.

Gale

October 1st, 2010
8:10 am

Bad law. For instance, suppose the area the employer operates is the Atlanta metro area. The former employee must seek employment outside that area. For many that means they would need to move to another city to find work in their field. The employer can fire any employee for any reason. So, a spiteful employer could put a world of hurt on someone, forcing them to move to get work.

godless heathen

October 1st, 2010
8:17 am

How about this angle? It ain’t none of the government’s damn business. If a worker is offered a contract with non-compete provisions it is the responsibility of the worker to understand the ramifications of such a contract, and if the worker signs the contract, the worker can be sued by the employer if the worker violates the contract. You may ask what would prevent employers from imposing unfair provisions on employees. Competition for the best and the brightest.

Doggone/GA

October 1st, 2010
8:22 am

“I dare not support your position on issues like this that are not clear to me. ”

And you can’t even be bothered to educate yourself on the subject. If you ever got caught up in it, you might come to regret that.

Moderate Line

October 1st, 2010
8:25 am

Jay

October 1st, 2010
7:30 am
GB, in the existing law, the non-compete clause is effective only in the geographic area where the EMPLOYEE formerly operated.

In the rewritten law, it is effective in the geographic area where the EMPLOYER operates, which of course is a much broader area.
+++++++++++++++++
Why don’t you reference a copy of both laws and let people judge for themselves?

Big D

October 1st, 2010
8:25 am

Jay…HALLELUJAH.
You have finally said something that I 100% agree with. I have owned and operated businesses in Ga. for 30 years and this is the best way a bad owner can demoralize his work force. A company should be a group of people who work together for a common good and not under the yoke inability to survive in a chosen field if let go.

TaxPayer

October 1st, 2010
8:29 am

Then again, folks such as Dish Network probably invest a tidy sum in education and training of their sales force and they probably feel that they have a right to a little protectionism. Just like any other business, because I certainly do not mean to single out any one company here with my choice of example.

Moderate Line

October 1st, 2010
8:30 am

One observations is anti-compete laws are anti-free market. Which exposes people many people on the right who claim to be for the free market but are really just pro-business. Business are typically against the free market because they want to restrict competition which increases profit.

Soames

October 1st, 2010
8:35 am

Non-compete contracts are usually reserved for CEO’s, corporate officers etc. I think everyone is blowing this out of proportion here..

I’m not from Georgia but I have worked for a company that required me to sign a non-compete disclosure when I was living in another state. It’s a norm in my industry and for very good reasons. If an employer spends millions of dollars developing technology, they shouldn’t have to worry about an employ taking said technology with them if they quit, get fired or whatever. Intellectual property rights need protection as well.

Jay is trying to simplify this like it applies to the kid who wants to work at McD’s rather than BK.

I do agree with geographic and time limitations and those were present in the agreements I have signed in the past.

Happy Friday and I hope the travellin music thread is interesting this evening.

See ya

Doggone/GA

October 1st, 2010
8:36 am

There IS a legitimate business concern burid in all this, and that is the issue of employees who only stay at a business long enough to learn their “trade secrets” and who then leave to peddle that knowledge to a competitor. It’s not clear, though, that this sort of law is a good way to handle that. Wouldn’t laws concerning industrial espionage cover that situation as well, or better, than what is proposed in this amendment?

Moderate Line

October 1st, 2010
8:36 am

TaxPayer

October 1st, 2010
8:29 am
Then again, folks such as Dish Network probably invest a tidy sum in education and training of their sales force and they probably feel that they have a right to a little protectionism. Just like any other business, because I certainly do not mean to single out any one company here with my choice of example.
++++++++++++++++
To balance the arguement do the people trained not feel entitle to use the skills they have obtain to make a livelyhood.

Could this just be an attempt by companies to keep wages down by limiting the options people have to find other employment.

Also, if a company has the right to terminate their obligations to the person at any time it would seem the contract is a little one sided.

Del

October 1st, 2010
8:39 am

I agree with Jay on this…as a former I.T. sales professional and former owner of an I.T. search business, non-competes can really be abused by employers.

Matti

October 1st, 2010
8:40 am

Employees already have no rights in Georgia. “Right to work” really means “right to fire for any reason or no reason at all.” Fine. How can they justify trying to have it both ways: Right to fire for any reason and THEN the right to interfere with your personal career decisions afterwards. How in the HECK does this help the people of Georgia succeed?

What ever happened to the “This is a FREE country!” bullpoopie we were raised on? If this were a “free country,” corporations would have no power over individuals. (And don’t insult us with the “a $40K fired employee has a right to go start his own big corporation and fire anybody he wants” crap. It isn’t a right if it isn’t possible.)

AmVet

October 1st, 2010
8:41 am

Very interesting “contributions” on the subject of legalized extortion.

The one at 7:53 makes no sense to me whatsoever and the one at 8:09 is an updated version of, “If yer fer it, I’m agin it!” (No matter that I have no understanding of the ramifications either way and am not gonna find out.)

The idea is a horrible one, period.

In this corporate destruction of capitalism model, why does the euphemism “pro-business” mean anti-employee, anti-shareholder and anti-taxpayer?

Oh I forgot, businesses are people too! Just ask the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce…

jt

October 1st, 2010
8:45 am

No one puts a gun to the head of a potential employee and forces him to sign a contract. People would be better served by being educated about non-competes. Instead we have politicians using the police power of the state to stifle competition. With dubious wording on the ballot. (should be a crime). It is no doubt, a Georgia Bar product.

The State’s only business is to uphold that contract between two individuals.(defending private property).

Only simple minds and lawyers can muddle this up.

stands for decibels

October 1st, 2010
8:49 am

No one puts a gun to the head of a potential employee and forces him to sign a contract.

noooo, not at all! why, a breadwinner who’s been out of work for 15 months can always walk away from a halfway decent-paying job offer and wait another 15 months!

andygrd

October 1st, 2010
8:51 am

Correct me if I am wrong…. If an employer has paid you to develop say a new software, on their dime, and you want to leave and take that knowledge with you to another company and they pay you a higher salary for that knowledge, that is okay? I don’t think so…
Or if you are worker and you issue a contract to a company, and that company then hires you after the award, hum, that does not sound right either…… Especially if you are govt worker….. The taxpayers would scream……
To beat the system, some will try and get laid off or fired, to beat the clause…. It does happen….
Now if a person is laid off or fired through no fault of their own,,,, then I agree, it should be invalid….
Just saying

Gale

October 1st, 2010
8:53 am

Soames, I beg to disagree. As a computer programmer, I have had such a contract presented more than once. Sometimes the contract also tried to claim ownership of something I may create on my own time, on my own computer, in a completely different field from the market of the employer. Simply put, the employer will try to leverage this to protect themselves. They, and not the employee usually have the money to force the employee to comply or move because defending a case is too expensive.

AmVet

October 1st, 2010
8:56 am

“…to stifle competition.”

For whom? Certainly not the employee. Let them eat cake,

And gawd knows, only those disgusting labor unions and a few misguided progressives are trying to protect their rights and liberties.

“Non-compete contracts are usually reserved for CEO’s, corporate officers etc. I think everyone is blowing this out of proportion here..”

Not so. My very first job, an entry level position, in the the industry I’m in, had me sign one.

Fortunately, I had the last laugh as the b*st*rd of an owner of that company was later indicted for fraud and kick backs.

TaxPayer

October 1st, 2010
8:58 am

Perhaps our politicians are just trying to expand on that logic that is currently in place to help protect large capital investments in things like hospitals and such here in our [get] right to work [and don't dally] state.

godless heathen

October 1st, 2010
8:59 am

“The State’s only business is to uphold that contract between two individuals.(defending private property). ”

Exactly.

Brad Steel

October 1st, 2010
9:04 am

An anti-worker, anti-consumer law that skews power to the incumbent businesses, their owners?

In Georgia?

Proposed by Republicans?

Certainly you must be mistaken….

Doggone/GA

October 1st, 2010
9:05 am

“Not so. My very first job, an entry level position, in the the industry I’m in, had me sign one.”

Same here.

N-GA

October 1st, 2010
9:06 am

So if you work for Orkin, then you cannot quit and start your own local pest control company? So if you work for Beazer homes, then you cannot quit and start your own home building company here?

Sounds to me like it would stifle small business growth and entrepreneurship.

Keep up the good fight!

October 1st, 2010
9:09 am

Seems there is a lot of confusion between Confidentiality Agreements and Protection of Trade Secrets and Proprietary information and Covenants NOT to COMPETE. Although they are often combined on one document, they are not the same.

Haywood Jablome

October 1st, 2010
9:09 am

No one puts a gun to the head of a potential employee and forces him to sign a contract.

Can we get another stupid, hackneyed analogy? Anyone? Please make sure it highlights that coercion is strictly limited to physical threats.

(what a d’bag)

godless heathen

October 1st, 2010
9:15 am

Brad Steel@ “…..must be mistaken.”

“According to state Rep. Kevin Levitas, D-Atlanta, who sponsored the proposed amendment

TaxPayer

October 1st, 2010
9:23 am

One possible moral of this story: Pick your corporate sponsor wisely for once you sign on the dotted line, you’re a corporate person, for life, or the term of the contract, whichever comes first, unless otherwise stipulated and for the benefit of the corporation.

The Boner's Tan Line

October 1st, 2010
9:24 am

The Boner believes that JOBS is the answer.

The Boner will repeal Obamacare, because it raises the cost of an employee. The more an employee costs, the less hiring the employer can afford to do. Duh! There will be no insurance offered in order to cut down on costs. The Boner will lower the minimum wage to a uniform $5.32 per hour. The maximum wage for everyone will be a uniform $8.99 per hour, after an employee has been on the same job for 25 years. The Boner says that is more than generous. There will be jobs galore!

The Boner will have no cap and trade climate bill. He will be for more renewables, more oil exploration, and more nuclear power. According to the Boner that climate bill that was on the House floor last year would cost 222.5 million jobs each year for the next five years!

The Boner will not raise rich people’s taxes. He feels this just might be the most important thing of all. The Boner believes rich people should not pay any taxes because they provide the jobs. The workers can pay the taxes, that way they can keep their jobs.

The Boner will never be without a job because keeping 3 women satisfied is full time work.

The Boner cannot be reached for comment, so don’t even try. The Boner is otherwise “occupied.”

thomas

October 1st, 2010
9:25 am

N-GA

October 1st, 2010
9:06 am

But is that fair to the Orkin company or Beazer who employs this person, teaches them all of the compnay secrets, and educates them on the ins and outs of the business?

They teach the person evrything then they don’t reap any benfits and in fact lose profits because of a new competitor that they trained.

Seems fair punish the truely innovative ones and not the carbon copies.

Haywood Jablome

October 1st, 2010
9:32 am

teaches them all of the compnay secrets

yeah. like how to spray poison on a bug. i hope the chinese don’t get their hands on this top secret stuff.

Brad Steel

October 1st, 2010
9:35 am

We need more laws that put the rights of companies superior to those of individuals.

Just like the supreme court’s free speech for corporations ruling!

Corporations are people too.

N-GA

October 1st, 2010
9:44 am

Thomas – I believe freedom is more important….and innovation. Isn’t competition the very basis of capitalism? This type of restriction on freedom flies in the face of Democracy AND capitalism.

People work in restaurants every day. They learn how to cook, how to determine portion size, how to construct (copy) recipes, etc. Then they go out and give it a try. They are free to succeed or fail.

stands for decibels

October 1st, 2010
9:51 am

came up with this bit, about who’s actually behind it… Jobs of Tomorrow

The driving force behind Amendment 1 is a group that calls itself Jobs of Tomorrow. [Zaid Jilani of Think Progress] checked the group’s registration information on file with the Secretary of State and found that its officers include a former telecom CEO, a vice president of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce (a corporate lobbying group), and senior executive for the Huddle House diner chain. Jobs of Tomorrow hired the Stoneridge Group, an elite GOP consulting firm, to handle the communications for the Yes on 1 campaign.

There’s your “business community.”

Abrazos

October 1st, 2010
9:51 am

GB @724

Thanks for posting the portion that shows the affected parties.

This is what it looks like to me: if you’re in outside or inside sales, customer service or you manage either, you’re OK. If you’re an engineer, IT professional, financial analyst, logistics manager, in R&D, etc., you’d be locked out of your industry. For corporations with HQ in Atlanta with offices all over the country and the globe, this could be really bad for those employees.

@@

October 1st, 2010
9:54 am

So what…not enough talented people out there?

Business wants to hold ‘em hostage?

A confidentiality agreement is all that’s needed. The employee can leave, they just can’t divulge company secrets. Of course, how would an employer know whether a former employee was sharing company secrets? Only after the damage is done. They can go after the former employee, but by then….it’s too late.

stands for decibels

October 1st, 2010
9:56 am

AmVet

October 1st, 2010
9:58 am

“They teach the person evrything then they don’t reap any benfits…”

Just his labor and efforts for the time he is in their employ. Which is what they are paying him for in the first place.

“The State’s only business is to uphold that contract between two individuals.(defending private property). ”

Exactly wrong.

I know this is horrible news for you “Let the free market police itself types”, but it is the responsibility of the state to ensure said contract adheres to the rule of law.

Of course, businesses have a right to protect their property, but this is more than just that. MUCH more. (Hat tip Keep up the good fight!) This is about an anachronism and heavy-handed attempt to needlessly deny American workers the opportunities to legally pursue what they will.

And here I though you misnamed conservatives were all about individual freedoms and liberties?

stands for decibels

October 1st, 2010
10:00 am

One would think that if we have more or less unanimity that this seems like a lousy idea among the likes of me, Del, @@, Moderate Line… well, maybe some clever marketing is in order.

===

Amendment One. Because Those People can get uppity if they’re not kept down and in a world of crap.

Amendment One. From the business community that gave you sharecropping.

===

Ok, I’m stumped. Anyone got something better?

Hillbilly Deluxe

October 1st, 2010
10:05 am

No one puts a gun to the head of a potential employee and forces him to sign a contract.

I was once up for a job and the only thing left to do, to make the deal official was to sign a piece of paper. This piece of paper, and yes I had my lawyer look at it, stated that I would agree, if I ever had a dispute with the company, to waive all my legal rights and submit to binding arbitration with an arbiter of their choosing. I was fortunate enough, that I was in a good enough financial position to say no, and walk away from that. A person who was desperate for a job, might not be able to.

On a side note, I’ve rarely seen a GA State Constitutional amendment that wasn’t worded like this one is. They are nearly always intended to deceive. And they started amending the thing, the year after they ratified it. Maybe they should just throw it out and start over,

N-GA

October 1st, 2010
10:12 am

Off Topic – If the PRC lets the Yuan float to its true market (relative) value, what happens to the value of all those US $$$ they are holding? Their value decreases relative to the Yuan. Also their exports coat more so the balance of trade (and foreign reserves) begins to swing the other way.

I was looking at a plastic 12-inch ruler/straight edge yesterday. It was “Made in China”. Now the petroleum used to make the plastic essentially costs the same in China and in the USA. Manufacturing 100’s of thousands of these things is an automated process requiring little labor. Seems to me that they could and should be made here. But Walmart wouldn’t like that.

We can only hope.

N-GA

October 1st, 2010
10:13 am

“coat” s/b “cost” – oops!

Matti

October 1st, 2010
10:15 am

stands for dB,

I like both of those slogans. I still can’t wrap my head around the people who are always screaming for freedom from “big government” but somehow think it’s okay to give corporations jurisdiction over the lives of individuals. The Supremes already gave them what’s tantamount to legal ownership of our so-called respresentatives by green-lighting their ability to fund campaigns to the point that our voices mean nothing. Am I a free individual or not? (Not if my employer dicates what I may or may not do on my off-work hours!) If I no longer work for my current employer, than why should I not be FREE to pursue employement any danged where I please, and bring with me whatever skills I have? Survival of the fittest should be subsidized for corporate entities, and stripped from me? Fly-covered horse piles. The people who really own our government want it both ways, and I think we have a duty to call them out for it.

N-GA

October 1st, 2010
10:20 am

Gold is up today by $11.50+ to $1321/oz on demand. It blew through $1300 this week with little resistance. Bubble or not a bubble?

Keep up the good fight!

October 1st, 2010
10:39 am

Hillybilly…got to agree. Legislatures rarely label bills the “Screw the Little Guy” bill or similar. Its to bad truth in labeling does not apply.

I have seen some employers demand non-competes on the 1st day after you quit your other job, or to offer to long time employees with an unexplained bonus and then terminate them a few months later (in a few cases — part of the intentional plan).

Old South

October 1st, 2010
12:44 pm

We once had a plantation system. I’m convince we still do, the houses are just made of Steele.

Now, Jay, I don’t know how long you’ve lived here. But you should look at Bellsouth in the early 2000’s to understand where this is comming from.

GB

October 1st, 2010
8:12 pm

Someone earlier asked for the law. Here it is.

http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/sum/hb173.htm

This passed in 2009. It will become effective if Amendment 1 passes.

Any reader who reads the bill can see the law attempts to strike a fair balance. Any non compete has to be reasonable. And what is reasonable will vary a lot according to circumstances. For some employers, a reasonable geographic limit may be metro Atlanta; for others it may be Georgia; for others it may be the entire country. It depends on the nature of the business and the nature of the work being done by the employee.

Mr. Bookman’s diatribe against the law and most of the comments do not recognize how complex a subject this is. I sat through numerous committee hearings on the bill in 2009 and know how much work was done by some pretty smart people to craft a good, balanced bill. Mr. Bookman makes it sound like Rep. Levitas and others concocted a scheme to screw regular regular working folks. I was there. I participated to a small degree and listened to a lot of deliberations. HB 173 and Amendment 1 are good faith efforts to protect the investments employers make in key employees without depriving former employees of the right to pursue their careers and earn a living.

Mary J.

October 1st, 2010
8:51 pm

Non-competes are common in the medical field, where they mostly affect young physicians who have not yet built a practice. Under current Ga. law, non-competes must be narrowly written as to time and geography, which protects both the interests of the employer and the employee. If amendment 1 passes, physicians will be forced to leave the area in order to switch practices and this, in turn, will make it much more difficult for consumers to keep their chosen provider. Whose interests are being protected here?

GB

October 1st, 2010
9:41 pm

Mary J

Read this provision in the law:

13-8-53.(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, enforcement of contracts that restrict competition during the term of a restrictive covenant, so long as such restrictions are reasonable in time, geographic area, and scope of prohibited activities, shall be permitted.

This sounds a lot like your description of current practices.

Old South

October 2nd, 2010
1:29 pm

GB,

Who determines what is reasonable? The worker is in no position to negotiate reason. You can only be reasonable from a level negotiating point.
My employer would be find my working sat and sun reasonable as it increases profit.

Reason is such a slippery slope, but GA is a state with an awful and malicious human and workers rights history so I expect this to pass.

len

October 5th, 2010
7:10 am

The more they say “reasonable”, the more you know they have no argument and no valid rationale. It is an empty word for people to fill with positive connotations.

A just law is not vague. Vague laws exist to be applied arbitrarily, to be used when it serves the interests of the powerful, to mean what they want them to mean, and to be ignored when they do not.

What is reasonable is already covered by existing laws that govern trade secrets. This is a scheme to prevent competition and suppress wages.

Cal

October 7th, 2010
12:00 pm

WOW! Literacy is a serious problem, here… I saw SEVERAL posts that said this was typical or to be expected of REPUBLICANS. The first was from someone called Caveman, so I suppose we should excuse him… On his wall, a donkey is food, not political. THIS WAS WRITTEN BY A DEMOCRAT. And if you don’t mind an opinion, a stupid one.

Michae1803

October 7th, 2010
12:11 pm

I amfor 40 years a labor and employment lawyer and have represented employers and executives for of those 35 years.I agree with Bookman on this one (even a broken clock is right twice a day).

Georgia’s current law allows carefully-drafted non-competes to be enforced so long as they do not restrict more than an employer needs to protect its legitimate employer interests, and so long as the terms are sufficiently clear certain in their application that the employee knows when he signs the non-compete agreement just what will and what will not be prohibited if and when he leaves the employer. I know this because I have drafted them, I have had them enforced, and I have had vague or ambiguous non-competes thrown out.

This constitutional amendment is not needed. A half way intelligent attorney and a client who is not too greedy can get what they need to protect the employer’s legitimate interests already. A long line of Georgia precedents have struck down mainly clauses that are ambiguous, uncertain, or that represent an employer’s over-grasping efforts to stifle legitimate competition. It isn’t only the employee (who has no bargaining power over the language in these agreements) who sufferes; it is the public which is deprived of the benefits of open and fair competition in a free market.

The real problem of th fraudulent constitutional amendment is that it will allow Judges to re-write these contracts with “blue pencilling.” When employers and employees agree to non-competes, they will not have any degree of certainty about what actually will and will not be prohibited if the employer tries to enforce the non-compete against the employee at some future time. The actual prohibitions will depend largely upon the peculiar whims of each judge, or whatever appellate court panel hears the appeal. This law will promote business uncertainty, increase litigation, and will be an employment lawyer’s bonanza!!.

Be suspicious. Be VERY suspicious when the law is supported both by Dems and Repubs, neither of which have the peoples’ interests in mind.