National Consumers League statement on DOT’s Unfair and Deceptive Practices Rule

For immediate release: November 30, 2020

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC –The National Consumers League (NCL), America’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, is deeply disappointed at the Department of Transportation’s decision late Friday to finalize its Rule on Defining Unfair or Deceptive Practices. The rulemaking, begun at the behest of the airlines’ biggest lobbying group, was opposed by NCL and a coalition of eight other consumer groups, five members of Congress, two FTC commissioners, and nearly 200 individual consumers.

The following statement is attributable to John Breyault, NCL vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud:

“The DOT’s decision, at the height of a pandemic, to kneecap its ability to protect millions of travelers from airline industry abuses is deeply disappointing. That the Department decided to do so on the Friday after Thanksgiving highlights that they hope this terrible decision will be forgotten by Monday. It should be clear to every member of the flying public that current DOT leadership is focused squarely on doing the airline industry’s bidding between now and January 20. It will be incumbent on the next Administration to undo this Rule, along with so many other anti-consumer actions taken over the past four years.”

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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 www.nclnet.org.

NCL applauds Florida’s popular vote to raise state minimum wage

For immediate release: November 13, 2020

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC –The National Consumers League (NCL) applauds Florida voters who, on November 3, overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure—Amendment 2—to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. The amendment was adopted with more than 61 percent of voters weighing voting for the measure.  This is an amendment to the state constitution that scales up the minimum wage to $15 by 2026, up from its paltry current $8.56 an hour.

The following statement is attributable to Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director:

With this vote, Florida joins seven other states in the process of raising their minimum wages to $15 an hour. And Florida is the first state to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour via ballot measure and amendment to the constitution. We are very pleased that Florida voters so decisively supported this measure despite Republican leadership in Florida opposing the measure and refusing to bring it to the state legislature.  Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been a vocal opponent, claiming it is ‘going to cause big, big upheavals for the restaurant industry.’ Yet the people of Florida disagree. They want increases in the minimum wage.

NCL notes that while working people in Florida will be the beneficiaries, workers in other states deserve the same increases. That is why NCL strongly supports federal legislation—passed by the House last year—to raise the minimum wage to $15 in every state from the paltry $7.25 an hour last raised by Congress in 2009.

This is a particularly gratifying vote given, that Donald Trump’s allies in Florida opposed the measure, while Trump won the election in the state of Florida by 51 percent to Joe Biden’s 47.9 percent. But that is not unusual. Minimum wage increases are typically popular among the electorate. Since 2000, states have held 21 referendums on the minimum wage, and all have passed, according to a tally kept by Ballotpedia. Public opinion surveys have shown broad support; a 2019 Pew survey found that two-thirds of Americans supported raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

States where legislatures have declined or been unwilling to pass minimum wage have seen victories on the ballot, including Arizona, Missouri, Montana, Colorado, and Ohio, while state legislatures in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and DC’s City Council have all adopted increased minimum wage legislation.

Below are links to NCL’s statement on minimum wage and NCL’s “We Can Do This!” podcast episode with Fight for $15 Director Diana Ramirez.

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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 www.nclnet.org.

National Consumers League statement urging FDA to make patient-centered decision on only available treatment option for pregnant mothers at risk for recurrent preterm birth

Oct. 7, 2020

Removing FDA-approved 17P could put countless pregnancies at risk even as COVID-19 adds new barriers for mothers with a history of spontaneous preterm birth

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League is urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect patient access to the only approved treatment to reduce the risk of preterm birth in women with a history of spontaneous preterm birth, following this week’s proposal that all approved treatment options be withdrawn. We maintain that it is not in the best interests of patients, nor their healthcare providers, to deprive pregnant women of access—especially as there are no other approved treatment options—without considering alternative methods to better understand which patients benefit the most from 17P.

Hydroxyprogesterone caproate or “17P” has been the only available FDA-approved treatment option for nearly a decade to reduce the risk of recurrent preterm birth. Patients and the healthcare providers who serve them currently have access to one branded and five generic versions of the prescription product.

Since last year, the FDA has considered whether to remove FDA-approved formulations of 17P due to conflicting data from two clinical trials with notably different patient populations: one of which included a majority of African American women (59 percent) from the United States, and another where African American women represented 7 percent of a predominantly international patient population.

Despite the strengths of the original clinical trial and experiences of thousands of women to whom 17P was administered over the past decade, the strong safety profile of 17P, and the fact that 15 leading patient advocates and providers urged them to carefully consider all of the data and recognize the needs of women of color, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) within the FDA recently proposed that approval for all versions of 17P (branded, generics, and compounded for this indication) be withdrawn from the market.

CDER made this recommendation without meeting with advocates or providers who have personal experience of the positive impact 17P can have on the lives of mothers and babies at risk of being born prematurely.

We strongly urge CDER and the FDA to commit to a transparent and patient-centered process before making a decision about the fate of this vital treatment. Removal of 17P from the market would leave at-risk pregnant women and their providers without a recommended standard of care, and in the interim, extends a period of uncertainty that has already lasted too long.

Appreciating the importance of continued access to FDA-approved treatment options for at-risk pregnant women, including those that reduce their risk of early delivery, several months ago, we led a joint effort to urge the FDA to maintain and protect patient access to 17P. An array of leading consumer, women’s health, and maternal health organizations and thought-leading healthcare providers joined our efforts, together expressing serious concerns that a regulatory decision could be based on a single study that was largely conducted outside of the U.S., in a predominantly white population of women.

In our outreach to the FDA, we urged the agency to consider alternative ways to further evaluate and define the patient populations that most benefit from 17P, without depriving women of access. We regret to state that the agency did not respond to our letter, nor two separate requests to meet with stakeholders who have stood ready to discuss these concerns for months.

Moreover, the company that makes the branded version of 17P reported that it submitted a proposal to the FDA earlier this year with a plan to generate additional data and predictors of benefit in women with a history of recurrent preterm birth. Despite the company’s effort to proactively initiate the first part of a retrospective study, it has indicated that it was not provided an opportunity to discuss this research with the agency before its recent response.

While we recognize there is no single solution that will improve maternal and infant health outcomes, only one proven intervention exists to help pregnant women prevent recurrent preterm birth. Especially during this pandemic, pregnant women and their unborn babies are under extreme stress, yet providers have few therapeutic options to help at-risk mothers. There may be an increased risk of preterm birth and pregnancy loss among pregnant women with COVID-19, and even under normal circumstances, preterm birth places mothers and babies at significant risk—particularly among pregnant women of color.

Access to FDA-approved treatment options should not be compromised without substantial evidence that there is a lack of benefit in the appropriate population—which we don’t believe we have today. Instead, it is our belief that findings from a study where the majority of participants resided outside the U.S. in countries with different health systems and different rates of preterm birth shouldn’t be generalized and that it is reasonable to pursue real-world data sources to help us better understand the overall benefits in a patient population where there are no other options.

We believe it is possible for the FDA to continue to uphold its strong history of regulatory integrity while listening to perspectives from patient advocates and providers that are rooted in years of clinical use. What we can’t believe is the alternative, which leaves providers and pregnant women without a path forward in the middle of a pandemic.

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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 www.nclnet.org.

NBC News’ Vicky Nguyen, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, DC AG Karl Racine honored with national consumer watchdog’s annual awards

Oct. 6, 2020
Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, has honored NBC News Investigative and Consumer Correspondent Vicky Nguyen, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, and Attorney General for the District of Columbia Karl Racine with its highest honors in 2020.

Via a web broadcast (recording available here) on Tuesday, October 6, Rosenworcel and Nguyen received the 2020 Trumpeter Award. Attorney General Racine was honored with the 2020 Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award, named for NCL’s first general secretary and one of the most influential figures in 20th Century American history.

“These are NCL’s highest honors, given to leaders who are not afraid to speak out for social justice and for the rights of consumers and workers. No one fits that description better than this year’s honorees: FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, NBC News’ Vicky Nguyen, and our partner in the District of Columbia, Attorney General Karl Racine,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg.

“In the time of pandemic, these leading voices are more essential than ever, and each is doing their part to help consumers. Commissioner Rosenworcel’s genuine dedication to closing the homework gap has set her apart as a leader at the FCC. Vicky Nguyen’s reporting has helped millions of Americans sort through crucial information and distracting misinformation during the coronavirus crisis. And General Racine’s office has been busier than ever, helping protect the residents of the District of Columbia from scammers, fraudsters, and unscrupulous businesses. The National Consumers League is delighted to honor these deserving individuals with this year’s awards.”

WATCH THE REPLAY ONLINE

What: National Consumers League’s 2020 Trumpeter Awards
When: Originally broadcast Tuesday, October 6, 2020 | 4 pm EDT
Where: https://www.nclnet-trumpeter20.org/

ABOUT THE AWARDS

Each year since 1973, the National Consumers League has honored leaders in the fight for consumer and worker rights with the Trumpeter Award. Past honorees include Senator Ted Kennedy, the award’s inaugural recipient, as well as Labor Secretaries Hilda Solis, Robert Reich, and Alexis Herman, Senators Carl Levin and Paul Wellstone, Delores Huerta of the United Farm Workers, U.S. Representative John Lewis, and other honored consumer and labor leaders. Last year’s Trumpeter recipient was Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO.

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton presented the Trumpeter Award to Commissioner Rosenworcel.

“Jessica Rosenworcel has used her position to fight for greater access and telecommunication services for all Americans. She digs for the truth behind the numbers and understands the needs and concerns of the people who are most affected by the FCC’s decisions: teachers and students, healthcare workers and patients, first responders and small businesses, and tens of thousands of telecom and media workers,” said Shelton. “Jessica is the voice of consumers and workers at the FCC. She has welcomed CWA members into her office to provide perspective on what is really going on in the communities we serve. Her focus on greater opportunity, accessibility, and affordability of communication services and her tireless advocacy on behalf of workers and consumers has never been more important.”

Commissioner Rosenworcel on her award

“From where I sit at the Federal Communications Commission, this pandemic has proven with total clarity that access to broadband is no longer ‘nice to have’; it’s ‘need to have’ for everyone, everywhere. Now more than ever we should solve the homework gap and come up with policies to ensure no child is left off line,” said Commissioner Rosenworcel. “I will keep using my voice to speak up about the homework gap, the digital divide and the fact that everyone in this country needs to have a broadband connection to have a fair shot at 21st Century success. Thank you, National Consumers League for this honor, and thank you for the work that you do.”

Susan Hogan, Consumer Reporter at WRC-TV in Washington, DC, presented Vicky Nguyen with her 2020 Trumpeter Award.

“Vicky is a trusted voice for consumers. Her contribution has become even more critical during the pandemic. No matter the story, you can always count on Vicky to keep consumers informed and safe,” said Hogan. “NCL’s Trumpeter Award is a wonderfully fitting recognition of a great journalist reporter and consumer advocate and I cannot think of a more deserving person to receive this accolade. Vicky, congratulations.”

Vicky Nguyen’s acceptance remarks 

“I am very honored to accept this 2020 Trumpeter Award, and I can truly say this is one of the highlights of my year. I focus on reporting that helps people live smarter, safer, healthier, and wealthier lives. I want every viewer to walk away from my stories saying ‘that’s good to know,’ because what they learned will empower them to make the right decisions for themselves and for their families,” said Nguyen. “I’m so honored to receive the Trumpeter Award and to be in your company this evening, thank you.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James presented AG Racine’s Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership award.

“General Racine has fought to preserve affordable housing, employ evidence-based juvenile justice reforms, crack down on slumlords, hold employers accountable for wage theft, and has made countless strides to protect consumers from scams and abusive business practices,” said James. “Attorney General Racine has dedicated much of his time, passion, and energy to these important causes. It is clear Attorney General Racine possesses the same ‘tough-as-nails’ reputation as a fighter for consumer rights as Florence Kelley, and no one is more deserving of this award then he.”

Attorney General Racine on the pandemic’s effects on consumers

“Our work is going to continue, particularly now, while millions of Americans are out of work and struggling amid this public health emergency. Too many people are at risk of losing their homes or suffering the consequences of credit score hits or drowning under debt,” said General Racine. “They need help, advocates who will fight for them, representatives who will pass laws responsive to their needs, and attorneys general who will hold fraudsters, scammers, and unscrupulous business people accountable.”

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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 www.nclnet.org.

The National Consumers League supports expanded COBRA coverage

Americans are spending billions on rising healthcare costs and need access to affordable, effective medicines and high-quality care.

Consumer, environmental groups ask Congress to press DOJ and EPA to expedite ongoing Mercedes diesel emissions investigations

April 3, 2019

Nearly three years have passed since investigation of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz diesel emissions systems; consumers left without recourse on their vehicles

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC – Leading consumer and environmental groups today sent letters to U.S. House Energy & Commerce and Senate Commerce Committees’ leadership, urging them to inquire about the status of pending Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency investigations into the diesel emissions systems of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes-Benz marketed its BlueTEC diesel vehicles as “the world’s cleanest and most advanced diesel,” but has been accused of equipping them with cheat devices that result in dangerously high levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, far exceeding what is legal under U.S. federal and state regulations. The DOJ and EPA have held Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler accountable for similar allegations, but there has been no update on their investigation into Mercedes since it reportedly began in 2016.

VW and Fiat have instituted buybacks and repairs to address the pollution, while compensating owners and lessees. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Daimler vehicles are potentially polluting the environment while their owners await the outcome of the DOJ and EPA investigation.

The letter was signed by Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, National Consumers League, Safe Climate Campaign and Sierra Club.

“Compared to the repercussions Volkswagen faced after admitting to strikingly similar allegations, which included severe fines and mandatory buybacks or repairs to tainted diesel vehicles, nothing has been done to hold Mercedes-Benz accountable in the U.S.,” wrote the groups. “Just as Congress played an important oversight role in Volkswagen’s dieselgate, it can do the same in bringing Mercedes-Benz to justice. We urge you to aid U.S. consumers by compelling the DOJ and EPA to provide an update into their nearly three-year-old investigation and, if appropriate, take action against Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz for violating U.S. law.”

The groups also referred to a letter Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent to the DOJ in February last year; the groups’ letter noted that no update has been provided and no action has been taken.

A full copy of the letter can be found here.

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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 www.nclnet.org.

Consumer group applauds launch of DOT investigation of 737 MAX safety

March 20, 2019

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League (NCL) today applauded the Department of Transportation (DOT) decision to initiate an investigation of the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 series of aircraft. In the wake of two deadly accidents involving the aircraft in less than six months, this investigation is urgently needed to protect the safety of the flying public.

The following statement is attributable to John Breyault, NCL vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud:

“The safety of the millions of consumers who fly every year should be the highest priority of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The flying public’s faith in the agency has been badly shaken by two deadly crashes and media reports of other near-misses involving the Boeing 737 MAX 8. By initiating an investigation of the FAA’s certification of the aircraft, DOT Secretary Elaine Chao is reasserting the leadership that has made U.S. airspace one of the safest places to fly in the world.

“The investigation ordered by Secretary Chao appears to be limited to the process used to certify the 737 MAX 8. We urge the DOT not to limit its investigation to one category or model of aircraft. Instead, the Department should conduct a comprehensive review of its 2005 decision to outsource aircraft safety certification to the very manufacturers who stand to reap billions of dollars in profits from regulatory approval of their aircrafts’ airworthiness. The flying public must be assured that its safety in the air has not been compromised by the profit motives of aircraft manufacturers and their airline customers.”

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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 www.nclnet.org.

Consumer group welcomes grounding of 737 MAX 8 fleet, urges U.S. airlines to waive cancellation fees to mitigate impact on flying public

March 14, 2019

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC – Within months of each other, two new Boeing 737 MAX 8s crashed minutes after take-off, causing the deaths of 346 passengers and crew. Wednesday, following the lead of regulators in more than 45 countries, the Trump Administration ordered the grounding of all 737 MAX 8s in service in the United States. This is a common-sense step that will help protect the flying public while the Federal Aviation Administration investigates the safety of the 737 MAX 8 fleet.

The grounding of all 737 MAX 8s will likely lead to significant schedule disruptions and cancellations for consumers who were scheduled to fly on routes using those aircrafts. NCL is calling on U.S. airlines to waive any cancellation or change fees that may be incurred by consumers whose travel plans are affected and who need to book new flights.

The following statement is attributable to John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud at the National Consumers League:

“In the wake of two fatal 737 MAX 8 crashes, the Trump Administration took the right step to ensure that the flying public is not put at unnecessary risk. Until it can be conclusively determined that all Boeing 737 MAX 8s are safe, the Federal Aviation Administration should keep these planes on the ground. American lives are far too valuable to risk in the name of airlines’ and Boeing’s profits.

Unfortunately, this move will likely significantly inconvenience customers and may require rebooking on alternate flights. In a normal environment, customers needing to make such changes would incur outrageous $250 change fees or other cancellation penalties. We call on all airlines whose flights are affected to waive change and cancellation fees or other penalties for any passenger that needs to rebook on a different flight.”

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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 www.nclnet.org.

NCL Statement on the Resignation of FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb – National Consumers League

March 6, 2019

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League (NCL) is saddened by yesterday’s announcement of the resignation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Since his appointment, Commissioner Gottlieb has championed the public health, tackling tough issues like the teen vaping epidemic, the opioid crisis, and counterfeit drugs, among others.

He is also credited with accelerating FDA’s approval of generic drugs and modernizing the FDA’s review and approval process.

NCL had welcomed Gottlieb’s appointment, and was fortunate to have had the opportunity to sit down with him for a fireside chat at our December 2017 Health Advisory Council meeting. At the meeting, Gottlieb discussed how his experience as a cancer patient influenced his approach as a physician and policymaker, enhancing his understanding of the patient perspective.

Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director, said: “Commissioner Gottlieb will be greatly missed. We wish him all the best, and hope that the next FDA Commissioner will put the interests of consumers first by maintaining the agency’s strong oversight of the safety and effectiveness of drugs and medical devices.”

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 www.nclnet.org.

National Consumers League statement on today’s U.S. Supreme Court argument on Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association – National Consumers League

January 11, 2016

Contact: Cindy Hoang, National Consumers League, cindyh@nclnet.org or (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC–The National Consumers League, the nation’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy group, has released the following statement about Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, scheduled to be argued before the Supreme Court today.

Friedrichs v California Teachers Association is a case handpicked by special, powerful anti-worker interests asking the Supreme Court to overrule a longstanding precedent established under Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.

Last fall, NCL joined a Friend of The Court brief, signing on with the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights and the National Women’s Law Center, arguing that the Court should uphold Abood v. Detroit Bd of Ed (1977), holding that public sector collective bargaining agreements may include “fair share” provisions. The brief details how unions provide one of the most successful vehicles for providing economic and professional opportunities for women, people of color, and LGBT individuals, including lowering the income gap and increasing access to basic benefits like health insurance and parental leave, and providing important protections against discrimination.

The National Consumers League believes that Abood is based on the constitutional principle that those covered by a union contract should be required to pay their share of fees. When employees elect a union to represent them, everyone who benefits from a negotiated contract should contribute to the costs of securing that contract, even those who might not agree with every union position.

Indeed, there are communities right here in Washington that work within this current fair share regime to very positive effect. In Montgomery County, MD, the superintendent, along with the three unions in the county, actually all sit at the table together each year to create a budget that aims to keep necessary cuts away from directly affecting students.

“It’s unfortunate that the Supreme Court is revisiting Abood, a case that has stood for 35 years. Since our founding in 1899, the NCL has supported the rights of workers to organize, be represented by a union, and have a communal voice that allows them to have an equal say over working conditions, benefits, and health and safety,” said NCL’s Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “That means that those benefitting from these contracts should contribute their fair share in dues and fees. The current system benefits the whole community because it brings better public services, stronger public schools, and more vibrant communities. If the Court bans fair share, it will make it more difficult for teachers, firefighters, and nurses to negotiate for wages, benefits, and improved public services. We call on the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and affirm the obligation of all covered by union contracts to pay their fair share.”

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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 www.nclnet.org.