FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT: Shubhangi Domokos, firstname.lastname@example.org, 916-934-6963
CA Labor Federation Statement on Federal Court Ruling CA Law Banning Forced Arbitration is Preempted
SACRAMENTO – (Wednesday, February 15, 2023) – Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Assembly Bill 51 (2019), which banned employers from making workers sign forced arbitration agreements as a condition of employment, was preempted by federal law. Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, the leader of the California Labor Federation and author of the original law, released the following statement in response to the court’s ruling.
“The majority of California workers are forced to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of employment, depriving them of the right to their day in court if the boss steals wages, violates safety laws or sexually harasses them. Forced arbitration silences workers and it protects companies that break that law.
AB 51 was simply intended to make these agreements voluntary. Today the court ruled that due to the US Supreme Court’s expansive view of preemption under the Federal Arbitration Act, states cannot take this modest step to protect workers. As a result, workers will continue to be forced into a secret, privatized system of injustice controlled by their bosses that prevents them from engaging in collective action or exposing repeat violators.
The California Chamber of Commerce is celebrating this ruling that protects corporations that flagrantly violate the law and then hide behind arbitration. We are not. Today’s ruling underscores the urgency to find new tools to enforce our laws to protect workers in every industry from the abuses that have become routine. The laws we pass mean nothing if employers are allowed to make workers waive their right to enforcement. Labor will prioritize enforcing labor laws at every level to hold companies that violate labor law accountable.”
To arrange for an interview with Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, contact Shubhangi Domokos at (916) 934-6963.
The California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO represents over 1,200 affiliated unions in California with over 2.1 million union members in trucking, retail, hospitality, janitorial, construction, health care, local and state government, education, arts and entertainment, warehousing and logistics, manufacturing, and a variety of other sectors.