NCL to honor AFL-CIO’s Trumka, Jobs with Justice’s Granich with annual awards – National Consumers League

October 6, 2014

Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League,, (202) 835-3323

Washington, DC— The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, will honor Richard L. Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, with its highest honor, the Trumpeter Award, on Wednesday, October 8, in Washington, DC. The event will bring together a diverse group of representatives from nonprofit organizations, labor unions, consumer organizations, and industry to celebrate a busy year of victories for consumer and worker advocates. Lara Granich, Director of Missouri Jobs with Justice, will receive this year’s Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award.

“The Trumpeter Award is NCL’s highest honor, given to leaders who have dedicated their lives to improving the rights of consumers and workers. President Trumka fully embodies these values, as his career-long commitment to America’s families have had a measurable impact on conditions for our workforce,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “We are proud of NCL’s historical and modern-day ties to the labor community and look forward to working together to increase workplace protections for all Americans.”

Since 2009, Trumka has been president of AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in America. Throughout his career as a labor leader, first with the United Mine Workers of America, and since 1995 with AFL-CIO, Trumka has dedicated himself to fighting for fair and honest labor practices for American workers. He created investment programs for the labor movement, urged the creation of, and now chairs, the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council, and was instrumental in developing tactics to rally the support of international labor on behalf of U.S. workers struggling for workplace justice against multinational conglomerates.

The first recipient of the Trumpeter Award, in 1973, was Senator Ted Kennedy. Previous honorees include Labor Secretaries Hilda Solis, Robert Reich, and Alexis Herman, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Senators Carl Levin and Paul Wellstone, Delores Huerta of the United Farm Workers, and many others. Last year Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner at the Federal Communication Commission, received the honor.

Lara Granich, Director of Missouri Jobs with Justice will receive this year’s Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award, named for NCL’s early leader and awarded to grassroots consumer advocates. In her time at Missouri Jobs with Justice, Granich has helped lead successful campaigns to increase the minimum wage, defend affirmative action, and support workers organizing unions and bargaining for better lives at work. She also co-chairs the Jobs with Justice National Board.

The event will feature a reception, dinner, and speaking appearances by NCL leadership and the honorees, as well as:

  • Cecil E. Roberts, International President, Untied Mine Workers of America
  • Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Commissioner, Federal trade Commission
  • Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs with Justice

Event details
What: National Consumers League’s 2014 Trumpeter Awards 

When: Wednesday, October 8, 2014
7 p.m. Dinner and Presentation of Awards

Where: Grand Hyatt Washington,1000 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
Questions or to RSVP: Call National Consumers League, (202) 835-3323


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

Chase breach underscores cost of Congressional inaction on data security – National Consumers League

October 3, 2014

Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League,, (202) 835-3323

Washington, DC – News of yet another massive data breach — this time at JPMorgan Chase — underscores the urgent need for data security reforms in Congress, according to the National Consumers League. Affecting 76 million households and 7 million small businesses, the Chase breach comes on the heels of other mega-breaches this year at Home Depot, Jimmy Johns, eBay, and Community Health Services.

“These data breaches are occurring with frightening regularity, and striking some of the country’s biggest companies. It is clear that our cyber security systems are unable to stay one step ahead of these bad guys,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director. “It is time that our elected officials sit down with businesses and law enforcement to develop a comprehensive plan for protecting Americans’ personal information from cyber thieves.”

This summer NCL launched its #DataInsecurity Project to raise awareness about the impact of data breaches on consumer confidence in the marketplace. NCL is calling on Congress to pass a strong national data breach notification law, require businesses that hold consumers’ data to abide by data security standards, and give the Federal Trade Commission and states greater authority to hold companies that fail to protect consumers’ personal information accountable.

“Seventy-six million households at Chase, 56 million cards at Home Depot, 145 million accounts at eBay — enough is enough,” said John Breyault, NCL Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud  “With each new breach, consumers’ trust in the marketplace is eroded. We must not accept the massive theft of consumers’ personal information as the ‘new normal.’ These breaches should serve as a wake-up call to Congress that we need reform now.”


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

NCL: Protect children in tobacco fields – National Consumers League

childtobacco.jpgAs a nation, we have turned our backs on some of America’s most vulnerable workers. Right here, in Kentucky and other tobacco-producing states, children as young as 7 years old are facing Third World conditions. Toiling in the hot sun, these child workers must don black plastic trash bags with holes poked for their head and arms to avoid contact with tobacco leaves. Without it, their skin absorbs nicotine — a lot of nicotine. On a humid day, when tobacco leaves are dripping with dew, a tobacco worker may be exposed to levels of nicotine equivalent to smoking three dozen cigarettes. Nearly a two-pack-a-day habit.

America boasts progressive labor laws, yet hundreds of children working in our fields are subject to unhealthy, unsafe levels of nicotine exposure. These young workers often suffer from “green tobacco sickness,” which leads to dizziness, nausea, vomiting and other health complications. We should be ashamed that the laws protecting American child laborers on U.S. tobacco farms are weaker than the laws in many developing nations. In India and Brazil, for example, people younger than 18 are not legally allowed to work in tobacco fields. In America, children can work in tobacco fields at 16, and — in certain situations — children can legally begin working in other types of agriculture at 12 years of age.

As the most powerful country in the world, what kind of example are we setting?

It is time for our collective conscience to be stirred.

No longer can we turn our backs to the reality of girls in Kentucky working long hours in the fields through bouts of nausea and dizziness, making less than minimum wage. No longer should we ignore the image of a young man in North Carolina, thirsty, tired, and ill after working a 12-hour shift in the fields. Many of these young laborers come largely from Latino immigrant families, working with virtually no protections and in constant fear of losing their jobs. These horrid working conditions for children have no place in America.

Americans are rejecting cigarettes in record numbers: Today 18 percent of us smoke, compared with 45 percent in the 1950s. American retailers are discontinuing sales: CVS has sacrificed $2 billion a year in profit by removing tobacco products from its shelves. We are finally making progress in reducing tobacco use, yet we cannot muster the resolve to prevent children from being exposed to nicotine via dangerous, difficult farmwork.

For decades, health and child labor advocates have called for reforms to our agriculture laws to better protect the children working in our fields. In 2012, these advocates — and American child farmworkers — suffered a devastating defeat when the Obama Administration buckled to the powerful agriculture lobby and legislators from tobacco-producing states, withdrawing rules that would have increased protections for child farmworkers and specifically banned tobacco work for children under 16.

Efforts to right this wrong are building momentum.

In May, Human Rights Watch released a jarring report documenting the working conditions of 141 children, ages 7 to 17, who work in U.S. tobacco fields. This led to a rapid response by the advocacy community who, on Aug. 28, sent a letter to the president urging him to take immediate action to protect child tobacco workers. The letter, written by the Child Labor Coalition, a group of more than 30 advocacy organizations that is co-chaired by the National Consumers League, was signed by more than 50 groups.

On Sept. 6, the New York Times profiled child laborers in tobacco fields, exposing the unthinkable conditions under which these children work. And more recently, the Council for Burley Tobacco, an industry group that represents 5,000 tobacco growers, stated publicly: “We do not condone the hiring of anyone under the age of 16 for work in tobacco anywhere in the world.”

In the halls of Congress, there too now exists a glimmer of hope for new legislation that would better protect children in tobacco fields. In July, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., introduced legislation that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to eliminate child labor on tobacco farms. More recently, Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., has called for regulatory reform that would strengthen laws that protect these child workers. In the Senate, 16 members, led by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, wrote a letter to the largest tobacco corporations asking them to ban work by minors.

We are now at a critical juncture. The tobacco harvest is at its peak, and the children picking this crop face green tobacco sickness every day they work in the fields.

So often we are disapproving of labor abuses on the other side of the world. We must hold ourselves to that same standard, and no longer turn a blind eye to this national disgrace that is happening in our own backyards. We must enact regulations to protect the nation’s most vulnerable — our children — from this dangerous work.

This Sally Greenberg op-ed was originally published in the Courier-Journal on Thursday, October 2, 2014.

Turning cybersecurity awareness into cybersecurity reform – National Consumers League

Facebook_NCSAM_icon.jpgOctober is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which is a good time for consumers to take stock of their online safety habits and practices. Great tips and tricks for creating stronger passwords, taking advantage of two-factor authentication and learning to spot phishing scams and other cyber threats abound from organizations like the Federal Trade Commission, Stop. Think. Connect., and NCL’s own partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, NCL is helping to raise awareness about cybersecurity and give consumers advice on how to protect themselves from hackers and other online scam artists. However, 2014’s NCSAM comes at a unique time. Consumers’ concern about the security of their personal data has rarely been higher. Due in part to massive data breaches at retailers like Target and Home Depot—and, just this week, news regarding JP Morgan Chase—there is a new urgency for action in Washington and in corporate boardrooms to address data security.

While NCSAM is a perfect opportunity to take ownership of your own data, one person cannot protect all of their data by themselves. In today’s connected economy information about consumers is held by hundreds, if not thousands of entities – often without your knowledge. However, a data breach at just one of these companies can expose millions of consumers’ records to fraud.

This summer, NCL organized events in Miami, Los Angeles, and Chicago to raise awareness about the problem of data breaches. Armed with new research from a groundbreaking survey and a report on the consumer impact of data breaches, we met with federal and state law enforcement and consumer protection authorities, local media, and American consumers. What we heard was not surprising: Consumers are fed up with the constant stream of data breaches, which they often feel powerless to stop. They want businesses to do more than just offer up free credit monitoring – they want a way to hold businesses and government accountable when their sensitive data is not protected.

That’s why this October, we’re calling on policymakers in Congress, at the White House and throughout the country to not just be aware of cybersecurity, but to do something about it. Through our #DataInsecurity Project, NCL is working to raise the alarm about the urgent need for data security reforms, including passing a national data breach notification standard, creating meaningful national data security requirements and giving enforcement agencies like the FTC the tools they need to go after hackers and companies that put profits ahead of securing consumers’ data.

As we look towards a new Congress, we at NCL will be redoubling our efforts to make sure our elected leaders don’t sit idly by while hackers profit off our data. Instead, we’ll be making our voice heard in Washington and throughout the country to push for real reforms that start to put a dent in the data security problem.