"Binding arbitration" is a system for resolving legal disputes without going to court. It was invented to help large corporations of equal bargaining power amicably and quickly resolve their contract problems without spending years and millions on lawsuits.

But the Supreme Court steadily chipped away at the limits on arbitration and companies realized that it was a way to strip their employees, contractors and customers of the right to sue them regardless of how badly they behaved.

I've been asked to enter into binding arbitration "agreements" by a toboganning hill, an emergency room, a daily newspaper, and @lyft (to name just a few).

Why? The golden rule: "Them what has the gold, makes the rules."

In other words, if you settle your dispute in front of a private arbitrator in the employ of a business that cheated or maimed you, the private arbitrator will rule in their employer's favor far more often than a judge would.

Even better: if you're the kind of business that profits by cheating lots of people in small ways, binding arbitration makes it impossible for them to get justice through class action -- it sets the threshold for fraud at "less than it would cost to go through arbitration."

Now, the companies that used one-sided "agreements' to strip others of their right to sue are refusing to arbitrate, too. They're reneging on their obligation to pay arbitrators. They're slow-walking claims so that some aren't being heard for YEARS.

Companies like @fairshake are massively expanding the industries they bulk-file claims against, paying their customers - people who've been screwed over - an average of $700 each.

And OH, how the companies are whining! They're basically admitting what we knew all along: that the point of arbitration wasn't to streamline justice, it was to DENY justice. Arbitration was supposed to mean that only 30 of AT&T's 300,000,000 customers filed claims per year.

As @KarlBode writes, whatever problems class action suits had they were also engines for good - for example, class actions are why you no longer have to pay giant termination fees if you cancel your cellular contract). Replacing them with kangaroo courts was no improvement.

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