Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Mandatory Arbitration-Unfair to Military Families and Consumers

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

When men and women of the United States Armed Forces are deployed in service to their country, they should not have to worry about their families being victimized by legal and financial schemes at home. To prevent lenders and others from taking advantage of a military service member’s absence while on active duty, Congress passed the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act. The Act provides certain legal protections to service members, by assuring that they will not miss their fair day in court because they are deployed.

Some companies have found a way around this protection for military families. It is called “mandatory arbitration,” and it effects soldiers and civilians alike. “Mandatory arbitration” does an end around the mostly level playing field provided by the courts, and requires that legal disputes between corporations and consumers be decided by an arbitrator hand-picked by the corporation. Sounds fair, if you are the corporation. Not so much if you are one of the rest of us.

A recent news story exposes some of the abuses that result from “mandatory arbitration.” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/17/business/wronged-troops-are-denied-recourse-by-arbitration-clauses.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0.

A “mandatory arbitration” clause can be slipped into any consumer contract without most of us ever noticing. If there is ever a dispute with the corporation over the transaction, “mandatory arbitration” means that dispute will be decided entirely on the corporation’s terms (where, when, how and by whom.). We think our legislators should rein in this growing practice; and, that consumers should be wary of doing business with any company that puts a “mandatory arbitration” clause in the contract.

Do you think “mandatory arbitration” is a fair way to resolve disputes? We’d like to hear.

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Workers Compensation Is Becoming a Very Bad Deal For Workers/A Worse Deal For Taxpayers

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

When you think of an “injured worker,” remember that is you on a bad day; or your husband; or, your sister or, your son or daughter or neighbor.

Legislatures around the country are squeezing injured workers in order to add to the bottom line of employers and their insurance carriers.  Listen to a few minutes of an NPR investigative report exposing the unfairness that has descended upon the worker’s compensation systems across the country.   http://www.npr.org/2015/03/04/390441655/injured-workers-suffer-as-reforms-limit-workers-compensation-benefits

These “reforms,” that purport to “rein in the high cost of worker’s compensation insurance” only shift an even greater burden onto the injured worker and his/her family.  This additional financial distress is dumped on the worker at the worst possible time–when he/she is already down, and struggling to figure out how to make ends meet until the injuries heal.

And one more thing:  When the injured worker is unable to work, and the employer, through worker’s compensation, doesn’t provide enough for the worker to keep the lights on and the kids fed, do you know who else pays?  You and me and every taxpayer in this country, when we finance the food stamps and other public assistance our brother/sister will require to get by because his employer compensates him so little.

The American worker performs valuable service for the employer and makes the business profitable.  When the worker is injured or disabled by the work, it is only fair that the employer or its insurance carrier provide meaningful assistance to allow the worker to recover and thrive.  It is wrong to leave the injured worker to fend for himself.  And it is wrong to put the burden on the taxpayer to pay this cost of doing business.

If you have a relationship with your legislator, tell them you expect them to look out for working people.  That’s what I think.  What do you think?

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