Union coalition says it’s time to restore legal rights for workers and consumers


Adam Bristow, Sydney Scout, and Hannah Taube of the Oregon Working Families Party helped get the word out about the campaign at the Portland Labor Day picnic in Oaks Park.

Workers and consumers ought to have the right to use the courts, and to sue if they’re wronged by corporations. But increasingly, corporations are locking employees and customers out of those rights by requiring them to sign arbitration clauses as a condition of employment or doing business.

On Labor Day, a union-backed campaign launched in order to end that practice by passing a bill called the Oregon Corporate Accountability Act in next year’s legislative session. It’s a coalition effort by the Oregon AFL-CIO, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, PCUN, and the Oregon Working Families Party, together with the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, the Northwest Worker Justice Project and the Center for Popular Democracy.

Campaign manager Sydney Scout says the coalition would like to see a bill modeled on California’s Private Attorneys General Act that passed in 2004, which allows private individuals to sue over labor law violations on behalf of the state.

The campaign will be meeting with lawmakers to line up support for the idea.


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