President Barack Hussein Obama is as guilty as Senator John Thune of protecting gang rapists. The Pentagon supported the position of 30 Republican Senators in opposing the Franken amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would deny federal contracts to companies that try forcing employees to sign contracts surrendering their legal right to take their employer to court for workplace abuse like the gang rape and imprisonment Jamie Leigh Jones says she experienced at the hands of her Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad in 2005.
The Department of Defense gave this reason for opposing the amendment:
“The Department of Defense, the prime contractor, and higher tier subcontractors may not be in a position to know about such things. Enforcement would be problematic, especially in cases where privity of contract does not exist between parties within the supply chain that supports a contract,” reads the DoD note. “It may be more effective to seek a statutory prohibition of all such arrangements in any business transaction entered into within the jurisdiction of the United States, if these arrangements are deemed to pose an unacceptable method of recourse” [Araminta Wordsworth, "Thirty Senators and the Jamie Leigh Jones Rape Case," National Post, 2009.10.21]
Now I might split hairs a little, noting that DoD's reasoning is different from that of Senator Thune and his free-market fundamentalist colleagues. The Obama Administration dances in technicalities but then grants that it might be better to ban forced arbitration in all contracts—that's an idea worth considering!
Senator Thune, however, frets over removing arbitration as a "tool available for labor and management to use when it comes to labor agreements..." except, of course, when labor might benefit from using that tool. As Think Progress points out, Thune's excuse on his Franken Amendment vote is all hypocrisy:
While Thune is committed to the principle that corporations have the right to use binding arbitration to muzzle victims of rape, he has long argued against the use of arbitrators in regards to reforming how unions sign labor contracts. In fact, Thune has fashioned himself a chief opponent of the Employee Free Choice Act simply because of arbitration. Arbitration is a part of EFCA because, all too often, when employees vote to form a union, they still can’t get a first contract due to their employer’s delay tactics. However, Thune has argued that the most “egregious” provision of EFCA is arbitration. Arbitration to help unions form contracts with their employers, Thune argues, would “kill jobs” and hurt “every American business, both large and small” [Lee Fang, "Thune Offers Weak And Hypocritical Argument For Voting Against Franken’s Anti-Rape Amendment," Think Progress, 2009.10.21].
President Obama deserves serious criticism for letting his Defense Department take the wrong side on the issue of federal defense contractors, arbitration, and protecting women. So does Senator Thune.