May 18, 2011
Contact: NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC–The National Consumers League’s Sally Greenberg issued the following statement praising the introduction of the Arbitration Fairness Act (S. 987 and H.R. 1873), which would eliminate forced arbitration clauses in employment, consumer, and civil rights cases, and which would effectively override the Supreme Court’s recent decision in AT&T v. Concepcion:
In April, a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court ruled in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion that corporations are now free to write contracts that bar consumers and employees from banding together to challenge corporate misbehavior in class-action lawsuits or even group arbitration. That terribly unfortunate anti-consumer and anti-worker decision gives corporations the ability to decide on their own which civil rights and consumer protections they want to obey, knowing that there will be no effective means available to their victims to find redress. Even worse, it has effectively removed any incentive for corporations to operate fairly and equitably toward their customers and their workers.
The Supreme Court decision undermines decades of progress and protections for workers and consumers. We will not be deterred, however. The earliest leaders of the National Consumers League, Florence Kelley and Frances Perkins, faced numerous Supreme Court decisions that undermined their reformist efforts. Ultimately, Kelley and Perkins prevailed, winning basic protections that banned child labor and set in place maximum hours laws for workers and minimum wage protections.
The National Consumers League strongly supports effort to reverse this very unfortunate Supreme Court decision in Concepcion. The Arbitration Fairness Act has been introduced this week by Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in the US Senate and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) in the House of Representatives. NCL calls on Congress to act swiftly to undo the catastrophic damage done by the Court, end forced arbitration in civil rights, consumer, and employment disputes, and restore the ability of every citizen to use the courts to find justice.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.