Call Of The Day: End Forced Arbitration For Employees

If you were assaulted at work today, what would you do? If you found out your dark-skinned co-worker was a scapegoat for an error made by your white colleague, who would you talk to? If you found out you and everyone working your shift had been quietly shorted $75 per paycheck for the last six months, who would you talk to?

Not sure? Do you think you'd take your employer to public court? Think again. If you check your employment agreement, you might be one of the sixty million Americans forced to handle your 'dispute' through arbitration - a private Judge Judy-style setting where the 'judge' is hired by your employer ... and doesn't need any legal background. No trial, no jury and no public records.

Members of Congress in both the House and Senate have introduced the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (S. 610/H.R. 1423), which protects workers by preventing employers from forcing these pre-dispute arbitration agreements, and prohibits agreements and practices that interfere with the rights of individuals, workers, and small businesses to participate in a joint, class, or collective action related to an employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil rights dispute.

Arbitration is a system which produces unfair outcomes for workers. Workers are 2.6 times more likely to win in state courts than in arbitration, and settlements under forced arbitration yield significantly lower damages. And because arbitration complaints are private, employers may never have to answer for systemic or cultural issues -- arbitration claims fail to act as a deterrent for companies to stop bad behavior going forward. This unfair system must end. Congressional support for the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeat Act is at an all-time high with 34 co-sponsors in the Senate and 189 co-sponsors in the House. The time for Congress to act is now.

THREE CALLS TO MAKE:  Senators Kennedy and Cassidy, and Representative Richmond or Scalise

Senator Bill Cassidy:  DC Office: 202-224-5824; Metairie office:  504-838-0130; Monroe:  318-324-2111; Lake Charles:  337-493-5398; Alexandria:  318-448-7176
 
Senator John Kennedy:  DC office: 202-224-4623; New Orleans:  504-581-6190; Lafayette:  (337) 269-5980; Monroe:  (318) 361-1489; Alexandria:  (318) 445-2892; Baton Rouge:  (225) 926-8033; Shreveport:  (318) 670-5192

Because of how Congressional districts are drawn, New Orleans residents have either Richmond or Scalise as their representative.  If you don't know who your representative is, you can look it up by entering your home address on the U.S. House of Representatives website.

Representative Cedric Richmond - in DC at (202) 225-6636, and in New Orleans at (504) 288-3777
OR
Representative Steve Scalise - in DC at (202) 225-3015, and in Metairie at (504) 837-1259

SAMPLE SCRIPT:

Hello. My name is [Your Name] and I'm an active voter from New Orleans, ZIP Code 70118 [Or wherever you’re from]

I'm calling to express my support for the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act, [S. 610 for Senate / H.R. 1423 for House]. Forcing employees into a private alternative to the justice system robs workers who suffer harassment, discrimination, wage theft and wrongful termination of their right to their day in court. This behavior should never be forced on an employee.

Thank you for your time and attention.

This call is adapted from 5calls.org, which can be viewed here.