Event celebrates 100-year landmark case laying groundwork for workplace protections – National Consumers League

June 24, 2008

Contact: 202-835-3323, media@nclnet.org

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League will host a historic gathering of feminist scholars of the Progressive Era, labor activists, and leading gender discrimination lawyers at Georgetown Law Center in Washington, DC on June 25, 2008. The League, the nation’s oldest consumer organization, will mark the 100th Anniversary of Muller vs. Oregon, the first Supreme Court decision to uphold limits on the hours women workers could be forced to toil in factories and laundries. The experts gathered will also discuss the priority issues for labor and working families as Americans look toward new leadership in the White House.

Early leaders of the NCL worked in 1908 with then-attorney Louis Brandeis to write a successful brief in Muller to the Supreme Court. The brief was filled with data on the ill-effects of a 16- and 17-hour workday on women, their families, and their communities. The Muller brief was the first “Brandeis Brief,” a document that uses social evidence instead of law to make the case for legal reforms.

The event is the first time historians, lawyers, and labor leaders will come together to debate and discuss the effects of Muller on workplace regulations for women and ultimately all workers. Muller set the stage for the minimum wage laws and ultimately the landmark Fair Labor Standards Act, but was used in subsequent years by the courts to justify restricting women’s access to certain jobs.

Speakers at the conference include California Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, co-founder and chair of the Working Families Coalition in the House, Joslyn Williams, head of Metropolitan Washington, DC AFL-CIO, National Labor Relations Board member Wilma Liebman, Ann Brown, former Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Mary Beth Maxwell, Executive Director of American Rights at Work and others. Event co-sponsors include Bernstein & Lipsett, AFL-CIO, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, Alliance for Justice, United Food and Commercial Workers, and others.

The conference is free and open to the public. Online registration has closed. Please call Dana Brunson at (202) 835-3323 for more information or to secure your space at the conference.

WHAT: Muller v. Oregon Centennial Conference

Hosted by the National Consumers League

WHO: Academics, labor professionals, consumer and worker activists, students, and legal professionals are invited to attend this free one-day conference.

WHEN: June 25, 2008. Doors open at 8:15 am. Event runs from 9:15 am to 4:30 pm.

12:45 Keynote lunch Speaker: Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA)

WHERE: Georgetown University Law Center, McDonough Hall, Hart Auditorium

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001


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 www.nclnet.org.