NCL applauds competition regulators for centering consumers and workers in 2023 Merger Guidelines

December 19, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin,, 202-207-2831

This week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released their final merger guidelines, describing how the agencies will review mergers and acquisitions. The agencies improved upon existing guidelines by recentering marketplace competition and federal antitrust law, a break from previous enforcement regimes that allowed waves of consolidation to occur economy-wide with few repercussions.

“The 2023 Merger Guidelines mark a historic return toward these agencies’ original mandates—to protect the public from predatory corporations,” said National Consumers League Chief Executive Officer Sally Greenberg. “Decades of rubber-stamping harmful deals have allowed anti-consumer and anti-worker practices to run wild. NCL welcomes the updated guidelines and appreciates that the Commission and Department have signaled an intention to examine proposed deals holistically. Strong enforcement of our antitrust laws is key to combatting price gouging, privacy violations, wage suppression, and other noxious practices.”

NCL strongly supports the application of antitrust laws to protect consumers, workers, and our democracy. NCL’s comments to the DOJ and FTC on the 2023 Merger Guidelines can be found here.


About the National Consumers League (NCL)

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

A Historical Look at the American Garment Industry and Its Impact on Labor Movements in the U.S.

December 19, 2023: In our latest installment of We Can Do This! Sally Greenberg, CEO of National Consumers League, sits down with Rebecca Ballard to discuss the fashion and garment industry.

NCL statement on DOT’s fine against Southwest Airlines

December 18, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin,, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League (NCL) today applauded the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) landmark enforcement action against Southwest Airlines over the company’s operational meltdown during the 2022 holidays.

The following statement is attributable to John Breyault, NCL’s Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud:

“Today’s DOT action sends an unambiguous signal to the airline industry that passengers’ time is valuable and there will be consequences for carriers that waste it. The unprecedented $140 million fine demonstrates that consumer protection remains a top priority under Secretary Buttigieg’s leadership. However, enforcement is just one tool in DOT’s toolbox. While we welcome today’s announcement, passengers should be protected regardless of which airline they choose to fly. This will only happen if DOT enacts strong rules to ensure that consumers are compensated when flights are delayed or cancelled, that refunds are processed without delay, and that unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition are policed vigorously. We look forward to continuing to work with DOT and the industry to make this a reality.”


About the National Consumers League (NCL)

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

Consumer advocates seek to block Virginia’s $2 billion handout to Ted Leonsis – National Consumers League and Sports Fans Coalition launch #MonumentalDisaster campaign

December 15, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin,, 202-207-2831; Sports Fans Coalition – Brian Hess,, 703-659-7557

Alexandria, VA – The National Consumers League (NCL) and Sports Fans Coalition (SFC) today urged the Virginia General Assembly and the Alexandria City Council to reject Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s plan to offer billions of taxpayer dollars to Monumental Sports Entertainment for the construction of a new arena for the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals. Governor Youngkin’s proposal would reportedly require the General Assembly to authorize the issuance of $1.4 billion, and potentially as much as $2 billion, in public debt. In addition, the citizens of Alexandria are being asked to contribute as much as $106 million in additional funds. Monumental Sports & Entertainment, would be required to invest $403 million, potentially less than 20 percent of the project’s estimated cost.

There is widespread consensus among economists that subsidizing sports stadiums almost never yields a net economic benefit for the local community and is instead a burden to local governments and taxpayers. Despite this, community after community continues to offer enormous taxpayer-funded incentives to professional sports teams. The Monumental Sports Entertainment deal is no different.

“This is a terrible deal for Virginia taxpayers, Wizards and Capitals fans, and residents of the surrounding community,” said John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud at the National Consumers League. “Communities across America continually fall under the spell of billionaire sports team owners who promise the moon in exchange for billions in public money. Our elected leaders must not allow Virginians to become the next suckers in this shell game.”

“Fans love their teams, and they hate when they leave the city. That doesn’t mean fans like seeing their hard-earned tax dollars get spent on lavish sports arenas,” said Brian Hess, Executive Director of Sports Fans Coalition, lifelong Northern Virginian, and avid DC sports fan. “We have long opposed public money being used for sports arenas, and have even called for fan-friendly conditions – the Danifesto – to be included in the handouts. However, even those conditions may not be enough to tip the scales on just how bad a deal this is. In no uncertain terms, lawmakers should vote ‘no.’”

NCL/SFC’s #MonumentalDisaster campaign launched with a petition found on SFC’s website: Here, fans can fill out a form and sign the open letter which will be delivered to lawmakers. NCL/SFC will also partner with local activists who have already started opposing this deal. Anyone can join the fight by signing the open letter and posting on social media with #MonumentalDisaster.


About the National Consumers League (NCL)

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 Sports Fans Coalition (SFC)

Founded in 2009, Sports Fans Coalition represents fans wherever public policy impacts the games we love. They work to promote pay equality for women athletes, provide resources to fans at risk for gambling addiction, ticket buyer consumer protections, college athlete name, image, and likeness rights, and many other issues in the sports industry. For more information, visit

National Consumers League supports table saw safety standard proposed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission

December 8, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin,, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League (NCL) submitted comments to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) this week on the Commission’s proposed rule to require a safety standard for all table saws. The “Safety Standard Addressing Blade-Contact Injuries on Table Saws” proposal is projected to prevent more injuries and save more money than any rule ever proposed at the agency.

“NCL applauds the CPSC for moving toward a final rule to make table saws safe and to prevent the over 50,000 injuries – many of them finger amputations – that occur each year from table saw accidents,” said NCL CEO Sally Greenberg.

Pam Gilbert, NCL Board member and former Executive Director of the CPSC noted, “The matter of table saw safety has been an ongoing concern of the CPSC and National Consumers League for more than a decade; we believe this rule would finally bring much-needed safety technology to this ubiquitous woodshop tool found in millions of US households.”

Previous voluntary standards have been ineffective in preventing injuries, thus the need for this mandatory safety standard using proven effective technology that prevents serious injuries from table saws. Indeed, a 15-year trend analysis (from 2004 to 2018) of table saw injuries showed no reduction in table saw injuries from 2010 to 2018, despite the fact that a voluntary standard that became effective in 2010 required new table saws to be equipped with modular blade guard systems.

The Commission expects that the proposed rule would prevent or mitigate an estimated 49,176 injuries treated in hospital emergency departments or other medical settings per year and that net cost benefits, even when factoring the cost of the technology, would range from $1.28 billion to $2.32 billion per year.

The proposed rule would limit the depth of cut of a table saw to 3.5 mm or less when a test probe, acting as surrogate for a human finger or other body part, contacts the spinning blade at an approach rate of 1 m/s. CPSC staff estimated that the proposed rule would prevent or mitigate the severity of 54,800 medically treated blade-contact injuries annually.

To read the views of woodworkers themselves, this YouTube link tells first-hand accounts, some of which have been included in NCL’s comments. One is below:

“My father cut all four of his fingers off with a Radial arm saw years ago. Three fingers are bolted back together so he can only move them at the knuckle, the index finger was lost due to infection. He had to have a skin graft on all his fingers pulled from his thigh, so they now all grow hair so he has to shave them otherwise they grow hair. In airports, he always sets off the metal detectors. When I was looking at table saws about 8 years ago it was between the sawstop contractor (hybrid wasn’t out yet) and Powermatic 3hp cabinet. My father was with me at the time while I was a teenager at woodcraft. One look at his hand and it was obvious which saw I walked out with. 8 years later I still use the Sawstop contractor saw and it looks just like when I bought it, Its a fantastic investment and probably the only one that is relatively easy to justify to your wife. “

As Commissioner Rich Trumka, himself a woodworker, observed in his comments “…[t]he rule would provide the greatest net benefit to society of any rule in the agency’s history that I’m aware of—up to a $2.32 billion net benefit every year.”

The National Consumers League fully supports this Proposed Rule and greatly appreciates the years of dedication and work from the CPSC’s engineers, statisticians, and economists and the leadership of CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn Saric in moving this to the top of the Commission’s agenda.

NCL’s comments can be found here.


About the National Consumers League (NCL)
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

PBMs claim new programs will save consumers money. Let’s take a closer look.

By Robin Strongin, Senior Director of Health Policy

Consumers have known for quite some time now that the prescription drug pricing system is essentially a black box. Dealings among drug manufacturers, health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) establish which drugs insurance will cover and make accessible to consumers. What’s more, the prices that consumers pay for those medicines vary wildly – often leading to high out-of-pocket costs for us all.

Two of the three major PBM companies that are in the middle of this drug pricing web recently announced that they are establishing new programs (CVS’s CostVantage and Express Scripts’ ClearNetwork) that set transparent formulas for drugs with a pre-set markup and a flat fee for the PBMs. On paper, this sounds like a great idea.

But consumers would be wise to take these claims with a healthy grain of proverbial salt. We know PBMs continue to find new ways to put themselves over patients (more on that here) and we must demand answers to the issues the PBMs are still skirting. For example:

  • Will these new programs actually make prescription drugs more affordable and reduce out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter? Notably, both Express Scripts and CVS Health have acknowledged that employers and plan sponsors may not save any money from this move. There is no sign either that consumers will be able to get the drugs they need for a fair price.
  • While the companies boast increased transparency, they still have not shared – nor said they will share – how much they are paying to acquire the drugs that will be dispensed to patients. PBM clients have long sought this information, but it appears that data will still be hidden in the black box.
  • In the case of CVS Health, the changes the company announced will only be effective at CVS-owned pharmacies. It will not affect how CVS will reimburse millions of prescriptions at the local and independent pharmacies it doesn’t own. A cynic might say this is just another mechanism by CVS to drive more patients to its own pharmacies.

Most notably, nothing CVS Health and Express Scripts have announced will change one of the pervasive anti-consumer elements of the drug pricing system. In their dealings with drugmakers, they can still cut deals that will determine which medicines get preferential placement. This means PBMs could continue to push consumers toward higher-priced drugs and limit access to more affordable generics and biosimilars.

It’s no coincidence that Congress is getting closer to passing PBM reform legislation that would mandate transparency, force the PBMs to pass their negotiated savings from drugmakers to consumers and remove the incentives for PBMs to push consumers to higher-priced drugs. One might say that these moves by CVS and Express Scripts are cosmetic attempts to ward off legislation by touting their own self-reforms.

But, as with so much that goes on in the drug pricing game, these “reforms” may not be what they seem. We need Congress to step in for consumers to help ensure we’re no longer facing a big disadvantage at the pharmacy counter.

Learn more about the PBM problem at

NCL applauds House Commerce Committee approval of consumer protection bills

December 6, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin,, 202-207-2831

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Consumers League (NCL), America’s oldest consumer advocacy organization, today applauded the House Commerce Committee for advancing five important consumer protection bills that would implement long-sought reforms to the live event ticketing industry, require all-in pricing in short-term lodging, crack down on online dating scams and protect consumers’ plumbing systems from “flushable” cleaning wipes.

Two bills, the TICKET Act (H.R. 3950) and the Speculative Ticketing Oversight and Prohibition Act of 2023 (STOP Act), would implement much-needed reforms in the live event ticketing industry. The TICKET Act would prohibit hidden event ticket fees by requiring sellers to display the full price—including all mandatory charges—at the beginning of the transaction and in advertising. The STOP Act would prohibit the sale of tickets that the seller does not actually possess, a controversial practice known as speculative ticketing. The bill would also crack down on deceptive “white label” ticket resale websites and require fans to be provided refunds promptly in the event that a concert is canceled or postponed.

“Live event fans achieved an important victory with today’s vote,” said NCL Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud John Breyault. “Add-on junk fees for concerts and sporting events have been the bane of consumers’ existence for decades. These reforms are long overdue and promise to make the ticket-buying experience a fairer, easier process for millions of fans.”

Additionally, the committee advanced H.R. 6543, the No Hidden Fees on Extra Expenses for Stays Act; H.R. 2964, the Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety (WIPPES) Act; and H.R. 6125, the Online Dating Safety Act of 2023.

H.R. 6543 would require all-in pricing of hotel, Airbnb, and other short-term lodgings. This will prevent unscrupulous lodging companies from advertising one price to consumers only to hit them with additional fees later. The WIPPES Act will require that disposable cleaning wipes be clearly labeled with a “Do Not Flush” label. This has the potential to reduce estimated $441 million in additional operating costs that U.S. clean water utilities incur due to the flushing of so-called “flushable” cleaning wipes. Finally, the Online Dating Safety Act would require dating websites and apps to proactively notify users that an account they messaged has been banned. Such notifications would do much to intervene in ongoing frauds and likely help to reduce the scourge of romance scams.

“By advancing these bills, the House is demonstrating that consumer protection is a bipartisan issue. We urge the full House approval for these measures,” said Breyault. “Undisclosed hotel resort junk fees have bedeviled travelers for too long, draining consumers’ travel budgets and harming honest hotel operators. Similarly, the damage from ‘flushable’ wipes harms all consumers since the costs to municipal water systems are passed along to all ratepayers. Finally romance scam victims lost $1.3 billion to fraudsters last year. Requiring dating websites to offer them more support will do much to reduce the scourge of these scams.”

The committee’s actions come after NCL testified in support of these bills in a House legislative hearing in September of this year.


About the National Consumers League (NCL)
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