Posts Tagged ‘Franken’

The following letter was published Thursday, October 29, in the Washington Post. Stand up to Halliburton, and sign our petition!

In her Oct. 25 column, Kathleen Parker defended the 30 GOP senators who opposed Al Franken’s amendment to the defense appropriations bill. The amendment would restore access to justice for individuals who are sexually assaulted or harassed while working for defense contractors. Under current law, many defense contractors can use the fine print of employment contracts to strip employees of the right to go to court — even if the employees are assaulted by co-workers in a lawless environment permitted by the employer.

Ms. Parker first argues that contractors might not know what is in their subcontractors’ employment contracts. But that problem is easily solved — by requiring disclosure of the contracts.

Ms. Parker then argues that Congress should prohibit binding arbitration for criminal cases. We could hardly agree more, which is why we support the Arbitration Fairness Act, a bill that would end binding arbitration for all employees and consumers. At the same time, we also urge Congress to pass Mr. Franken’s amendment. That the amendment makes needed progress without ending forced arbitration for every American is no reason to oppose it.

David Arkush, Washington
The writer is director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch.

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Jamie Leigh Jones

By now, you are probably aware of an amendment to a bill funding the Department of Defense that would prohibit the U.S. government from doing business with defense contractors who deny employees who have been raped or sexually assaulted, like Jamie Leigh Jones, the right to hold them accountable in court. This amendment, introduced by Senator Al Franken, passed the Senate 68-30, with all 30 “no” votes coming from Republicans. The vote has received a great deal of attention and prominent commentators have both criticized and defended these 30 Republican senators for their votes (mostly criticizing).

But the bill has yet to become law – the House and the Senate still need to agree on final language – and there is troubling news coming from Washington. The Department of Defense initially opposed the amendment on the floor, and has cited problems with “enforcement.” The White House has kicked this issue over to the Pentagon and has said little more publicly than that they support “the intent of the amendment,” though it’s unclear exactly what that means. There were also early reports that the provision might be weakened in Congress.

The amendment is currently in limbo, but we need to ensure that it is not removed or weakened. Senator Franken’s amendment is important to the untold number of women who have already been (more…)

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