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Know Your Rights
Source: Make the Road New York
Subject: Strategic Policy Advocacy
Type: Event

Ripoff alert! And what we can do about it

When you open a bank account, move a relative into a nursing home, get a credit card, download an app like Uber, or take a job, the devil is in the details.

Led by some of the Corporate Backers of Hate, many corporations now use a trick called “forced arbitration” to block workers and consumers from suing them to challenge law-breaking like fraud, wage theft, abuse, and discrimination.

Forced arbitration clauses, buried in the fine print (and non-negotiable anyway!), take away regular people’s power to get what we deserve – enforcement of the laws that are on the books to protect us. Forced arbitration strips us all of our fundamental rights to seek justice in the court system – instead we must use a private system of hiredarbitrators who depend for their livelihood on keeping the corporations happy enough to give them repeat business.

Today we stood in front of Wells Fargo and declared that we intend to end forcedarbitration. We stood with allies from Center for Popular Democracy, New York Communities for Change, Citizen Action of New York, and ALIGN, as well as public officials including Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Tish James, and NYC Office of Labor Policy and Standards Director Liz Vladek.

Forced arbitration and worker intimidation tactics under Trump are decimating worker and consumers’ ability to seek redress in our courts. So Assemblymembers Latoya Joyner and Brian Kavanagh and New York State Senators Brad Hoylman and Jose Serrano announced introduction of the EmPIRE Worker Protection Act and the EmPIRE Consumer Protection Act to beef up ways to hold corporations accountable for their law-breaking, even if they have forced their workers and consumers to sign arbitration agreements.

Wells Fargo is one of the worst abusers. Its use of forced arbitration likely played a major role in silencing employee whistleblowers from exposing ethical concerns about the company’s fraudulent practices.

Wells Fargo is also a Corporate Backer of Hate: it’s a Trump creditor; financier of, and investor in, immigrant detention and private prison companies; and a financier of Dakota Access pipeline. Send Wells Fargo a message and keep up the pressure on the Corporate Backers of Hate here.

The event came on the heels of the release of the Center for Popular Democracy’s new report, “Justice for Sale: How Corporations Use Forced ArbitrationAgreements to Exploit Working Families,” which highlights the damage that companies are doing to communities across New York and the country. Check it out here — and stay tuned for news of more action.