8 more restaurant chains to end 'no-poach' rules

SEATTLE - AG Bob Ferguson announced Monday that eight more fast-food chains will remove "no-poach" provisions from their contracts nationwide.

Applebee's, Church's Chicken, Five Guys, IHOP, Jamba Juice, Little Caesars, Panera, and Sonic will join Arby's, Auntie Anne's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Carl's Jr., Cinnabon, Jimmy John's, and McDonald's in removing the language from current and future contracts, and will no longer enforce no-poach provisions.

According to Ferguson, no-poach clauses put downward pressure on wages and restrict worker mobility.

“Businesses can’t rig the system to avoid competition,” said Ferguson. “My goal is to eliminate no-poach clauses in the fast-food industry nationwide. This is a major step forward in achieving that goal, but we’re not done. Other fast food companies that use no-poach provisions are now on the clock to accept a similar deal or face litigation from my office.”

The eight companies have more than 15,000 locations nationwide. The agreement will affect hundreds of thousands of workers.

The companies have 90 to 120 days to remove any no-poach provisions from their existing franchise contracts in Washington. Outside of Washington state, the fast-food chains must remove the no-poach language from existing contracts when those contracts come up for renewal.

Additionally, the chains must notify all franchisees, or independent franchise owners, of the requirements.

Ferguson negotiated an end to no-poach provisions at seven other fast-food chains in July.