NCL expresses disappointment over DOT delay in rear camera rule – National Consumers League

February 29, 2012

Contact: NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC–The National Consumers League (NCL) expressed disappointment and dismay over the Department of Transportation’s decision to delay yet again rear view camera rule until December 31, 2012.

“This delay makes no sense,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director. “Forty-five percent of cars already have cameras as standard equipment. Consumers love having them, automakers are using them across their fleets, and they add an invaluable measure of safety to protect especially young children from being backed over and injured or killed.”

Greenberg, while working at Consumers Union before coming to NCL, worked closely with the group Kids and Cars to get legislation enacted requiring the federal auto safety agency to adopt a rearward visibility standard. In that process, the agency then determined that cameras were the most effective means for accurately viewing the area behind the vehicle.

Around 300 people are killed and 18,000 injured each year because of back-over accidents, according to NHTSA data. Many occur in driveways and parking lots with nearly half the deaths involve children under age 5. The elderly also are victims.

“We’re disappointed; this is a setback for safety. More than a year ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed requiring improved driver rear visibility in new vehicles. The regulations were to be phased in, applying to all cars and light trucks by the 2014 model year. Now we have another delay because of industry pressure. Consumers have waited long enough,” said Greenberg. “the lives of small children are at stake. Their lives must take precedence over yet another industry objection to full implementation of this rule.”


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

Honoring Black History Month – National Consumers League

February is Black History Month and a wonderful time to celebrate the achievements of African Americans, and recognize  the role African Americans have played in shaping American history.

Black History Month is also a great opportunity to celebrate the National Consumers League’s historical connection to the Civil Rights Movement. NCL supported racial equality from the beginning; Florence Kelley, NCL’s first leader, was a founding member of the NAACP. During the New Deal, NCL called for including domestic and agricultural workers in labor laws and social security programs, and was alone among women’s groups in demanding racial justice. Lucy Mason, head of the League during the 1930s, also served on the NAACP’s board, and cautioned against “that tendency to believe that the colored worker needs less than the white worker.”

In honor of Back History Month, here are just a few events that helped shape the American workplace and secure equal treatment for consumers and workers across the nation. The events not only celebrate the many African American leaders and activists, but also serve to underscore the remarkable achievements we have made toward racial equality as a country in the past century:

1909: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is formed on February 12 in New York City

1910: The National Urban League is founded in New York City on September 29. The Urban League is organized to help African Americans secure employment and adjust to urban life

1925: The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a labor union organized by African American employees of the Pullman Company, was formed with Civil Rights leader A. Philip Randolph as its first president

1941: On June 25, President Franklin Roosevelt issues Executive Order 8802, desegregating war production plants and creating the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC).

1954: On May 17, the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education declares segregation in all public schools in the United States unconstitutional

1954: Attorney Frankie Muse Freeman (born Marie Frankie Muse),  serves as lead attorney for the NAACP in Davis et al. v. the St. Louis Housing Authority , which ended racial discrimination in public housing in the city. Freeman was the first black woman to win a major civil rights case

1964: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is passed by Congress on July 2. The act bans discrimination in all public accommodations and by employers and establishes the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) to monitor compliance with the law.

1968: Congress enacts the Civil Rights Act of 1968,  which outlaws discrimination in the sale and rental of housing.

NCL proudly acknowledges Black History Month, salutes the accomplishments of all of the great historical figures and leaders who have worked for justice and equality for all, and looks to the future for the many equal rights achievements still to come!

NCL, civil society groups call on Obama Administration to ensure fair, transparent, credible privacy process – National Consumers League

February 23, 2012


Contact: NCL Communications (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC – Today, the National Consumers League (NCL) joined the nation’s leading civil liberties, privacy, and consumer groups in releasing a set of baseline principles in response to the US Department of Commerce’s plan for a multi-stakeholder process on privacy.

“In the digital age, there is perhaps no more important issue that protecting consumers’ online privacy rights,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director. “Consumers rightfully expect that their personal information will be safeguarded online. Indeed, privacy protections must be the foundation for a 21st century Internet policy that promotes innovation while respecting the basic rights of consumers. The Department of Commerce’s multi-stakeholder privacy process will only succeed if it is transparent, fair and inclusive of all voices in the marketplace, particularly consumers.”

In addition to NCL, signatories to the baseline principles include the World Privacy Forum, American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Consumer Watchdog, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and U.S. PIRG.

The principles are available at:


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

Countdown to Philly! – National Consumers League

By Lisa Hertzberg, LifeSmarts Program Director

It’s a busy time for all things LifeSmarts. Online competitions are still open in a few states through this weekend, state competitions are in full-swing (good luck to all of our teams competing this month and next), and we are counting down to nationals (59 days to Philly!).

I had the opportunity to attend the Wisconsin state LifeSmarts competition a couple of weeks ago. Seeing my first live competition of the year reminded me just why this program is such a winner. Students were attending from all corners of Wisconsin. Competition was strong, but sportsmanship ruled the day (the two final teams shook hands and congratulated one another while awaiting the judges’ scores on their final activity), and the adult coordinators, volunteers, and coaches supported the teams and cheered for everyone as the students demonstrated their consumer smarts.

I was recently explaining the impetus for the LifeSmarts program and I mentioned that LifeSmarts was the “carrot” or fun element to encourage students to learn as much about real-world consumer issues as they could while still in High School. Watching the Wisconsin competitors reminded me that LifeSmarts does exactly that – spices up consumer education and teaches us all something in the process.

How did the Wisconsin state competition turn out? As is often the case, the state championship went down to the wire – the top two teams were tied with only the team activity to go. By knowing more about deficiency diseases, the Oconto team bested Westfield by 10 points to win the state title.

It was a great day, and it got me jazzed up for Nationals! I hope to see you there.

AFL-CIO negotiates a great contract for hotel workers in New York – National Consumers League

By Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director

I was delighted recently to read some good news about hotel housekeepers in New York City, who were very ably represented by the AFL-CIO in recent negotiations. Hotel housekeepers will be getting raises – some will be making up to $59,000 a year – with full medical and dental benefits, no co-pays, and generous pension contributions. Representatives from the hotel industry observed that while their profits are not so fat, they are doing well enough to share the wealth with the workers. Many have rooms booked out at reasonably high rates and have had very good returns all last year.

By all accounts, the negotiations were fair and amicable. The icing on the cake is that these hotel maids  – who suffer a lot of pulled muscles and other maladies related to lifting mattresses, moving heavy furniture while vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms – – are also subject to sexual come-ons from hotel guests who are often in a position corner these hotel workers and take advantage of them. In response, these hotel workers will be getting a “panic button” they can use in the event a guest tries to take advantage of them. Most hotels in New York City are organized. This was good news indeed.

A public health victory and challenge – National Consumers League

By Teresa Green, Linda Golodner Food Safety & Nutrition Fellow 

Finally! There is some good news about the way that Americans are eating. The CDC announced recently that blood levels of trans-fats decreased by 58% between 2000 and 2008. This reduction means that Americans are consuming far less trans-fats than they were 10 years ago.

Why this dramatic change?  One reason is that FDA began requiring trans-fat labeling on foods in 2003. Because the fat had garnered a nasty reputation for causing heart disease, many food producers reformulated their products so that they now contain less trans-fat.  Additionally, some local governments, such as New York City, put limits on the use of trans-fats in cooking at restaurants.

What this dramatic reduction proves is that government regulations, in this case food labeling, work. Despite the good news about trans-fats, there are still many areas of the American diet which could use improvement, and salt consumption is chief among them.

As we’ve mentioned before, the government recommends that Americans consume only 2300 mg of sodium per day.  For African Americans, those with chronic health conditions and those who are 51 year older and above, that recommended level is even lower at 1500 mg per day.  The average American consumes around 3300 mg of sodium per day, far outstripping even the most generous recommendations.

One of the reasons that Americans consume so much sodium is that it has become ubiquitous in processed and restaurant foods.  It is often present at much higher levels than the average consumer would assume.  Bread, for example, is the number one source of sodium in the American diet, according to the CDC.  Many consumers may not be aware that they are consuming large amounts of sodium when they eat a slice of bread.

As the case of trans-fats suggests, government oversight is likely to be the most effective vehicle for reducing sodium intake.  One such type of enforcement would be to regulate the amount of sodium allowed in foods, based on category appropriate guidelines which account for naturally occurring sodium.  By limiting the amount of sodium, the government would protect consumers and encourage companies to reformulate their products so that they contain less sodium.

The reduction of trans-fat in the American diet is a public health victory but we shouldn’t stop there. Going forward, reducing sodium consumption to the recommended levels should be one of public health’s top priorities.

Consumer alert: restricted tickets for Miranda Lambert at Verizon Arena – National Consumers League

February 15, 2012

Contact: NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League (NCL) joined with the Fan Freedom Project today to issue a consumer alert about restrictive paperless ticket policies in effect for the April 13 Miranda Lambert concert at the Verizon Arena in Little Rock.

According to Ticketmaster’s Web site, some tickets for the April 13 show are paperless, requiring fans to present “the CREDIT CARD used to purchase and valid photo ID with matching information” at the venue to gain admittance. Also, “Gift Cards may NOT be used to purchase Paperless Tickets” and the “Entire party MUST enter the venue at the same time.”

“Paperless tickets are non-transferable, but we believe fans own the tickets they purchase and should be able to sell or give their tickets how, when and where they choose,” said FFP Consumer Advocate Elizabeth Owen. “These restrictive paperless tickets are a thorn in the side of fans, especially those who buy tickets and then can’t attend because their plans change at the last minute. That’s not fair to consumers.”

John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud at the NCL added, “We believe that restrictive ticketing practices are unacceptable. NCL, along with the Fan Freedom Project, is working to protect ticket-buyers from these anti-consumer policies.  Fans should be sure to read the fine print before they purchase a ticket. We don’t want anyone to waste their hard earned money because they were not aware of restrictions like these.”


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

About The Fan Freedom Project

Launched in February, 2011 the Fan Freedom Project is supported by over 100,000 live event fans, and is backed by leading consumer and business organizations such as the American Conservative Union, National Consumers League, Consumer Action, the Institute for Liberty, the League of Fans, the Computer and Communications Industry Association and Net Choice.

In memoriam: tribute to Mark Silbergeld – National Consumers League

February 15, 2012

Contact: NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC–The following statement is attributable to Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director:

We were saddened to learn this week that our longtime friend, colleague and avid consumer advocate Mark Silbergeld died over the weekend. Mark opened the Washington office of Consumers Union in the 1970s and was the longtime director of that office and a fixture in the consumer community. Over the years, Mark crossed paths with many of the our board members at conferences and consumer events and was always friendly, funny and wise .

When I joined CU in 1997, Mark occupied the office next door to me. He was a great Dad and each afternoon I’d hear him instructing his son Nicholas on getting his homework done and getting to football practice on time. Mark and I often commiserated about battles we hadn’t won and plotted strategies for the challenges ahead.

The younger staffers especially liked talking to Mark because he was endlessly patient and generous with his time, and had a wonderful institutional memory about consumer issues. He also got along famously with several of the “Grande Dames” of the consumer movement, Esther Peterson and Rhoda Karpatkin, and they depended on him for his wise counsel, not to mention his encyclopedic knowledge of opera: you could ask him what year Maria Callas sang at Tosca at La Scala and he could tell you the exact month and year.

More recently Mark was stationed at the Consumer Federation of America, working on international trade policy. Many of our staff have fond memories of Mark; Terry Kush traveled to Egypt with him on a US Commerce Department consumer mission, John Breyault and Rebecca Burkholder worked with Mark on policy setting committees for CFA.

It’s hard to imagine a CFA meeting without Mark Silbergeld in the room, cajoling, instructing, advising and wisecracking. We have one of those meetings – Consumer Assembly – coming up in a few weeks. We will look forward to an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions Mark brought to the consumer movement. Mark, we will miss you!


About the National Consumers League

Founded in 1899, the National Consumers League is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Its mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. NCL is a private, nonprofit membership organization. For more information, visit

Give your Valentine the gift of a healthier ‘Future’ – National Consumers League

Did you know cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with one in every three deaths caused by heart disease or stroke—2,200 American deaths each day? With heart health in the spotlight in February for American Heart Month, consumer health advocates are saying there’s never been a better time for individuals to recognize the leading cause of death in America and give the gift of education, prevention, and treatment to their loved ones this Valentine’s Day.

This Valentine’s Day, NCL and its Script Your Future campaign are calling on consumers to bypass the box of chocolates or bouquet of flowers in favor of the much more meaningful gift of a pledge to a healthier future, achieved through the close monitoring of chronic conditions, taking medications as directed, and engaging in productive two-way dialogue with health care professionals.

Script Your Future is challenging consumers to give the gift of a healthier future to their special someone this year. Script Your Future offers many ways to help loved ones stay on top of their new commitment to health and well-being:

  1. Take the pledge to take medication as directed as a first step to a healthier life in 2012. Take the pledge for yourself, or create one for your Valentine here.
  2. Download a medication wallet card to help keep track of medication(s) and get useful questions and conversation starters for your health care professional. Sit down with your Valentine and fill out the wallet card with your medicines, dosages, and refill dates together.
  3. Sign up for free text message medication reminders at You set the start date, time, and frequency of dosages.
  4. Commit to engage in conversations about medication with health care professionals during doctor visits and at the pharmacy. Talk to your Valentine about your health concerns, and take advantage of sample questions for health care professionals, and videos and fact sheets on common chronic conditions at

First-ever ‘Script Your Future’ Medication Adherence Challenge awardees named – National Consumers League

February 14, 2012

Contact: NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC — Today, the National Consumers League (NCL), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) announced the awardees of the first-ever Script Your Future Medication Adherence Challenge for student pharmacists.

The Medication Adherence Challenge is part of a public awareness campaign launched in 2011 by NCL with more than 100 public and private stakeholder organizations, including NACDS Foundation and AACP. The campaign, titled Script Your Future, seeks to raise awareness with patients about the importance of taking medication as directed.

Nearly three out of four Americans don’t take their medications as directed and the results can be devastating, particularly for people with chronic conditions. More than one-third of medicine-related hospitalizations and almost 125,000 deaths in the United States each year are due to people not taking their medicine as directed. Medication adherence can lead to improved health and reduced total healthcare costs.

The Challenge is a coordinated initiative to engage student pharmacists in a public education effort on the importance of helping patients with chronic diseases take their medications as directed. More than 40,000 student pharmacists educated more than 250,000 individuals nationwide during the month of October in this concerted public effort about the importance of medication adherence.

This year’s awardees, selected from 81 participating colleges and schools of pharmacy, are:

University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Harding University College of Pharmacy, Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy, and University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy.

“The goal is to educate the next generation of pharmacists to take a proactive role in encouraging patients to follow the instructions for taking their medication through medication adherence education,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director. Students at schools of pharmacy participated in the Challenge by engaging in community outreach activities to raise awareness about the health consequences of poor medication adherence, or not taking medication as directed.

“Script Your Future elevates the public expectation for medication education, of which the pharmacist is well educated to provide,” said Dr. Lucinda L. Maine, Executive Vice President and CEO at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. “Student pharmacists work directly within communities to educate patients about medication adherence that leads to people living healthier lives as exemplified by the activities of the Challenge awardees.”

“These health care providers in-training have developed and implemented creative solutions for one of the biggest obstacles to patient health – poor medication adherence,” said NACDS Foundation President Kathleen Jaeger. “Medication adherence education initiatives via community pharmacy assist patients in increasing their awareness of the importance of taking medications as prescribed, which helps improve health outcomes and prevent avoidable adverse events and unnecessary hospitalizations. The Script Your Future Medication Adherence Challenge has advanced that goal while training the next generation of pharmacists to continue aggressively advancing the public health.”

The recognized schools’ campaigns were:

Target Market Challenge Award: University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

Led by faculty member Dr. Cherokee Layson-Wolf, student pharmacists at the University of Maryland worked with the Baltimore coalition for Script Your Future to raise awareness and educate the public through participating in health fairs and other local events. Students wore Script Your Future t-shirts, provided blood pressure screenings and talked about medication management with attendees. During their pharmacy rotation program these students worked with patients at local pharmacies to talk about the importance of taking their medications as prescribed, and distributed more than 800 medication wallet cards to patients.

Social Media Challenge Award: Harding University College of Pharmacy

Student pharmacists at Harding University created a Facebook page for their Script Your Future campaign and had each class focus on a particular chronic disease. Each team produced videos for the Facebook page along with basic questions patients might have about managing medications for those diseases. They also used the page to share tips on how following prescriptions improves health and posted photographs from events during the month. The page received more than 8,000 views. One student produced and posted to YouTube a rap video on medication adherence, discussing the possible side effects of a particular drug. A fourth-year student also created a presentation, “Medication Adherence Issues and their Effects on Four Disease States: Asthma/COPD, Diabetes, Hypertension, and Dyslipidemia,” which was approved for one-and-a-half hours of continuing education credit by the Arkansas Board of Nursing and the Arkansas Board of Pharmacy.

National Challenge Award: Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions

Creighton University student pharmacists, faculty, residents and Dean Chris Bradberry met with Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman (R) to discuss the Script Your Future campaign and Challenge, and to talk about the importance of the effort in improving public health. They also provided 50 wallet cards for the governor’s staff. During October, student pharmacists provided medication counseling services at pharmacy and clinical sites across the state, conducted presentations on medication management with senior citizens and distributed wallet cards at health fairs and special events throughout Omaha.

National Challenge Award: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy (LECOM)

LECOM student pharmacists extended their Script Your Future efforts to include the HIV/AIDS community. During October, students provided more than 2,000 in-person patient counseling sessions to children, adolescents, adults and seniors. They developed a special Facebook page for the campaign and provided a link to the Script Your Future medication reminders program, where individuals can sign up for text message medication alerts. The students also held a Medication Adherence Awareness Day at the Therapeutic Riding Equestrian Center in Erie, where disabled children ride horses, while the student pharmacists talked with their caretakers about the importance of taking medication as prescribed.

National Challenge Award: University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy (UMKC)

UMKC student pharmacists conducted one-on-one counseling sessions with more than 3,300 patients in the Kansas City area to discuss medications and help them develop plans to better follow their prescriptions. The sessions were held at a variety of events and locations, including the Columbia Farmers’ Market, the Binational Health Fair and the MedZou Free Health Clinic, which serves the uninsured. Faculty and students also educated nearly 70 health professionals in the local community about the role pharmacists play in patient care and their ability to help patients follow their prescriptions. A fourth-year student pharmacist offered presentations to pharmacists and other health professionals at pharmacies in southern Missouri, and another helped organize an event to educate employees of a rural factory about cardiovascular disease and the importance of medication adherence.


About Script Your Future

Script Your Future is a campaign of the National Consumers League (NCL), a private, non-profit membership organization founded in 1899. NCL’s mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information about the Script Your Future campaign, visit For more information on NCL, please visit

About AACP

Founded in 1900, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) is a national organization representing the interests of pharmacy education and educators. Comprising 124 accredited colleges and schools of pharmacy with more than 6,000 faculty and 60,000 students, AACP is committed to excellence in pharmacy education. Visit to learn more and stay connected with the Association on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

About NACDS Foundation

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that serves as the education, research and charitable affiliate of NACDS. The NACDS Foundation seeks to improve the health and wellness of the people in America. It utilizes education, research, and charitable involvement to help people improve their health and quality of life through an understanding of medication therapy and the importance of taking medications appropriately. For more information, please visit