Back in February, Google employees took a stand against forced arbitration, successfully prompting the company to change its policies. Now, the group is rallying together for International Workers’ Day to try and get US Congress to ban the practice nationwide.
Forced arbitration strong-arms workers to sign a contract that prevents them from filing any public lawsuits against the company, allowing corporations to sweep issues through a private legal system. This is a controversial practice that has regularly been chastised for allowing companies brush gross misconduct under the rug with little repercussion.
Google dropped the contractual clause earlier this year thanks to 20,000 employees conducting a mass walkout, but some companies like Riot Games still lean on the policy where they can. The very same workers that made change at Google are hoping to influence Congress in passing the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act, effectively banning arbitration for employees across the country.
With the help of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), employees have appealed to the public in order to organise a phone drive on May 1st. US residents are urged to make two calls to local senators and one to their representative on the day in order to voice their concerns on International Workers’ Day. Those wishing to participate can find contact information here.
While the employees have applauded Google for taking “significant strides” in curbing the behaviour, it isn’t resting on its laurels. The group believes that the ability to silence workers fundamentally impedes on their rights and will “refuse to rest until all workers have their full rights.”
KitGuru Says: Forced arbitration seems like a quick way for a company opt-out of accountability, which in itself hinders the progression. It’s good to see that some workers want to take a stand but only time will tell whether things will change.