So, I have been thinking a lot about the Franken Amendment. More specifically, I have been thinking about the people that oppose it. Not just those that voted against it and the DoD, but also the general citizenry who believe that this Bill should not be passed. And yeah, I know that followers of Hannity don’t necessarily represent the “general citizenry,” but they seem to do a fine job of representing the people that have decided it is absolutely necessary that they oppose the bill. Because this exemplifies something that greatly confounds me.
So, the Franken Amendment, for those of you that don’t really know, is a policy mandate that would prohibit DoD from entering into contracts with companies that require their employees to sign some pretty major arbitration agreements. An arbitration agreement, for those of you that don’t know, is a contract between an employer and an employee wherein the employee agrees that in the event that something happens to them while they are in the active employ of their employer, employee agrees to waive his/her rights to sue employer and instead agrees to submit to binding arbitration.
Arbitration, for those of you that don’t know, is a non-judicial process where A and B meet with an arbitrator, who reviews the situation and enters a final and legally binding decision. That is it – the end. No review, no appeal, no day in court, no jury, no accountability, no press, no right to discuss, no ability for judicial execution and enforcement, and no publicity. But, despite what some of the tools in Congress are saying, this doesn’t mean ‘no lawyers.’ It also doesn’t mean it is less expensive.
And let me break it on down for you a little further. No matter how much people spin this, it is EMPLOYER-FRIENDLY. Yeah, it may have some benefits for the employee, but it is SO SO SO much better for employer than actual court, while actual court would almost always be better for the employee. Employers use these agreements to effective limit/remove their liability for everything from discrimination claims to assault. If you think these are a good thing for employees and just a nice service that employers offer (how it is often spun to employees) then ask yourself this – why are employers so hot to get their workers to sign them? Because it is BETTER for the employer and WORSE for the employee.
So, you may ask, why in the HELL would an employee sign such a thing? Well, it isn’t like they have a choice. If they are not required to sign one at hiring, chances are at some point they will have one presented to them and will be given the hard sell on why they are so awesome for employees and how nice the employer is to provide such a service, and how they don’t have to sign, but if they want to keep working, they will need to sign it. And meanwhile, employer is shitting bricks waiting to make sure that the pregnant woman signs it so that they can tell her they cut her pay.
But so what, you say, if you don’t like it, then find another job. Really? Fuck you. If the Constitution gives us the right to seek legal redress, and Congress has given us a framework of laws and regulations to protect us, the why in the hell is it okay for an employer to effectively force you to waive all of that? It isn’t. But so long as anti-employee groups like the Chamber of Commerce are around and pouring money into the political coffers, Congress and the courts will allow these things. But I digress…