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Supporters of federal arbitration bill seek vote

November 24, 2010

Backers of federal legislation that would forbid mandatory binding arbitration as part of manufacturer contracts with dealers are pushing for a Senate vote on the matter before Congress recesses Aug. 5 for four weeks. The Motor Vehicle Franchise Contract Arbitration Fairness Act has bipartisan support of 64 senators, but Republican leaders have blocked a vote because of objections from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Illinois Sen. Peter Fitzgerald has not pledged to cosponsor the measure.

Dealers can appeal for Fitzgerald's endorsement of Senate Bill 1140 by calling the senator's Chicago office , 312-886-3506, or by e-mail at The disparity in bargaining power between dealers and manufacturers is great. Dealers support legislation to ensure they are not coerced into binding arbitration. A similar bill (H.R. 1296) is navigating the House of Representatives. It has 223 cosponsors. Congress is scheduled to adjourn this session Oct. 4.