Last week, Becky drafted Senator Al Franken (D-MN) to Team Womanity, and yesterday he proved his worthiness yet again.
You might remember the horrific story of Jamie Leigh Jones, who, while employed in Iraq by KBR/Halliburton (the companies are now two separate entities), was brutally, horrifically gang-raped by a number of her co-workers. She has pursued legal action against the company for failing to ensure her safety (one might even say by ensuring her victimhood), but a clause in her contract stated that all legal claims–including those regarding sexual harassment and assault–be resolved through arbitration. While that system seems okay on paper, once you do a little research and realize that corporations are the ones hiring and paying the supposedly neutral arbitrators, and that the vast majority of arbitrated cases are decided in favor of the corps, you realize it’s a giant screw job for workers masquerading as justice. In any case, a recent decision from an appeals court means that Jones will have her day in court (and we will be watching).
Although Jones is Texan and thus not one of Franken’s constituents, he sponsored an addition to a federal defense spending bill that prohibits the U.S. government from awarding contract to firms who use arbitration to resolve claims like sexual misconduct, assault, and discrimination.
Despite the trollish grumbling from a number of free-marketeers worried about the awful, boner- and business-killing effect of the amendment, it passed yesterday 68-30; Sens. Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Arlen Specter (D-PA) did not vote. All 30 “nays” were cast by Republicans. Anyone surprised? You can see how each senator voted at the U.S. Senate site (thanks to SarahMC for the link!), and weigh in your praise or shame with your elected officials.
And if you’re a Minnesotan–or hell, even if you’re not–you might consider contacting Sen. Franken’s office to let him know you appreciate his efforts on behalf of Jamie Leigh Jones and women and workers all over the U.S.:
DC Office320 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510(202) 224-5641Saint Paul Office60 East Plato Blvd
Saint Paul, MN 55107