Consumer group says ‘NO!’ to proposal to lift standard sizes for spirits, says ‘unscrupulous actors will cheat consumers’

October 29, 2019

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

NCL files comment with the U.S. Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) objecting to a proposal to completely eliminate standards of fill (or permissible bottle sizes) for distilled spirits, inviting consumer confusion.

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL) has filed a regulatory comment with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) objecting to its proposed regulation (Docket TTB-2019-0005) to eliminate the “standards of fill” or permissible bottle sizes for distilled spirits products. 

For years, NCL has been urging TTB to take into account adult consumers’ interest in having access to clear, usable, and meaningful information about the alcoholic beverages they consume. Most recently, NCL wrote TTB to make the case that its effort to “modernize” alcoholic beverage labeling and advertising should include mandatory serving facts labeling so that consumers may understand how much alcohol (as well as nutrients) they consume in a serving and in a given container. 

In its comment, NCL objects to the TTB proposal because of its great potential to harm consumers by damaging the common understanding of container sizes, which consumers have come to rely on since the end of Prohibition. The TTB proposal makes no sense in the absence of mandatory serving facts labeling and invites deceptive practices by unscrupulous manufacturers who will undoubtedly vary bottle sizes to deceive consumers and increase profits.

NCL’s full comment may be seen 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.

National Consumers League: Computer chip defects force nearly all consumers to choose between speed and security

October 24, 2019

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

New NCL #DataInsecurity report details threat these flaws pose to consumers—both in terms of the security of their data and the performance of their computers—and how they can protect themselves in the future

Washington, DC—A new report released today by the National Consumers League details how consumers have been impacted by a series of processor exploits announced over the last 22 months that leave nearly every computer and server from the past two decades vulnerable to hacking. With sensitive data at risk, patches have been issued that better secure computers and servers. However, these temporary fixes can result in significant performance problems.

The report, “Data Insecurity: How One of the Worst Computer Defects Ever Sacrificed Security for Speed,” is part of NCL’s #DataInsecurity Project. Timed to coincide with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the report is an opportunity to remind consumers about the importance of being safe and secure when online. The report discusses the threat these processor flaws pose to consumers—both in terms of the security of their data and the performance of their computer after the necessary security patches are applied—and how they can protect themselves in the future.

“This paper is a part of NCL’s mission to empower individuals to protect themselves from companies that put their data at risk,” said John Breyault, NCL vice president, public policy, telecommunications and fraud. “The scope and severity of these chip flaws is alarming, undermining both the security and speed of computers. Nearly two years after the flaws first made headlines, it is likely that consumers are still not fully aware of the risks they face if they do not protect themselves.”

The report details seven publicly disclosed exploits, known as “Spectre,” “Meltdown,” “Foreshadow,” “Zombieload,” “RIDL,” “Fallout,” and “SWAPGS,” that take advantage of the flaws found in CPUs manufactured by AMD, ARM, and Intel. While Spectre affects all three major chip manufacturers, all six subsequent exploits largely affect only Intel processors.

The exploits have been discovered on an ongoing basis for nearly two years, with the most recent one found in August 2019. The flaws are a result of a process called speculative execution, a functionality created in the 1990s that allows a processor to predict a user’s next action and perform it in advance, thereby reducing delays and increasing the speed of a computer. Because the flaws are foundational to how a CPU’s hardware is built, each patch is only temporary until the next exploit is discovered. Due to the nature of these flaws, the exploits that take advantage of them may not be traceable.

“Consumers are being forced to choose between the security of their data and the computer speed they were promised,” said Breyault. “We recommend consumers prioritize security, though unfortunately, it comes at a financial and performance cost.” 

The report concludes that the best protection for consumers is to buy a new computer that has a CPU with hardware-level security fixes or is immune from some of the exploits. Unfortunately, the NCL report acknowledges that this may not be practical for many consumers. Therefore, consumers are advised to perform frequent software updates. NCL is also strongly supporting data security bills such as the Consumer Privacy Protection Act of 2017 that would require companies to take preventative steps to defend against cyberattacks and data breaches and to provide consumers with notice and appropriate protection when a data breach occurs.

The full report 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.

FAA evacuation tests could give green light to unsafe and inhumane airline seating

October 21, 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 Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) upcoming passenger evacuation tests are designed with outdated standards that do not reflect the realities of today’s airline travel marketplace, said a coalition of ten consumer and flyers rights organizations in a letter sent today to FAA Administrator Steve Dickson and Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao.

The groups’ letter explains how the FAA’s current evacuation testing standards, which have not been updated in more than 20 years, do not account for multiple factors that could prevent safe evacuation in the legally-required 90-second threshold. For example, the current standards do not account for the presence of emotional support animals in the cabin, parents who may be separated from their children due to airlines’ family seating policies, or passengers with disabilities. In addition, the current evacuation standards do not account for the experience in recent emergencies of significant numbers of passengers attempting to bring personal items like roller bags with them as they evacuate. Nor do the standards effectively simulate the disruption from the widespread panic that can be expected in the event of an actual emergency.

“The FAA’s standards are woefully out of date and out of step with the current state of airline travel,” said John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud at the National Consumers League, which organized the letter. “Unless the standards are improved, the airlines will almost certainly see the results of these tests as a green light continue their never-ending quest to shrink seat sizes and cram more passengers into planes.”

In September, FAA Deputy Administrator Daniel Elwell announced that that the agency will conduct tests of airplane evacuations involving 720 “demographically representative” people over 12 days in November 2019 in Oklahoma City. These tests, the first conducted by the FAA in nearly two decades, come in response to a Congressional mandate that the agency set minimum seat size standards in order to increase passenger safety. Unfortunately, the FAA appears to be pressing forward with the testing without input from the DOT’s Office of Inspector General, which is currently conducting an audit of evacuation testing standards, or the agency’s own emergency evacuation standards advisory committee. Furthermore, it appears the testing will not be conducted with full-scale airplane cabin mock-ups, but instead using smaller sections that don’t properly simulate packed airplanes.

“It is imperative that Secretary Chao and Administrator Dickson act aggressively to address our organizations’ concerns so that the public, whose faith in the FAA has been significantly diminished recently, will have confidence that the highest of standards were employed during the test evacuations,” said Business Travel Coalition chairman Kevin Mitchell. “Congress also needs to ensure that the testing processes and the underlying critical assumptions are realistic,” added Mitchell.

“Airline travel has changed significantly over the last 20 years, with shrinking seats and record passenger loads, a high influx of carry-on bags, scattered seating of families, ubiquitous electronic gadgets and cords and even on-board animals,” said William J. McGee, Aviation Adviser for Consumer Reports. “It is critical that the FAA’s methodology changes as well, so that this vital testing accurately reflects real-world scenarios, where the stakes are often life-and-death.”

The letter was signed by the National Consumers League, Business Travel Coalition, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, EdOnTravel.com, FlyersRights.org, Travel Fairness Now, Travelers United and U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

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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.

The National Consumers League mourns the untimely death of Congressman Elijah Cummings

October 17, 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 the untimely death of statesman and U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings. Rep. Cummings was admired by friend and foe alike, an honest broker and legislative giant who chaired the House Oversight and Reform Committee and who never forgot his humble roots as the son of sharecroppers.

Rep. Cummings was in his 13th term serving as a representative of the Baltimore, MD community. As a member of the Maryland House of Delegates (1983 to 1996), he became the youngest chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus. Cummings campaigned tirelessly for stricter gun control laws and help for those addicted to drugs.  

Congressman Cummings often said that “our children are the living messages that we send to a future we will never see.” In that vein, he was committed to ensuring that the next generation has access to quality healthcare and education, clean air and water, and a strong economy defined by fiscal responsibility. 

He served as the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, seeking to identify appropriate reforms that prevent waste, fraud, and abuse and that ensure government programs meet the needs of the American people. 

In recent months, Cummings had become a leader in President Trump’s impeachment inquiry: he didn’t hesitate to show anger, outrage, or disappointment in the actions and behavior of the administration officials. He strongly and vocally opposed the presidency of Donald Trump and was sued by President Trump in attempts to keep his business records secret. Most recently, Cummings was called upon to defend his constituents in Baltimore when President Trump made disparaging remarks about the city.  

“The whole nation will miss this remarkable man, who stood up to bullies, defended the rights of the less fortunate and underserved, but maintained his dignity and was always a gentleman and peacemaker—no matter what an opponent had to say about him and his district,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg.

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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.

Watchdog group to present annual awards to AFA-CWA’s President Nelson, Truth In Advertising’s Patten on Tuesday, 10/22

October 17, 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), the nation’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, has announced it will honor Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO with its highest honor, the Trumpeter Award, on Tuesday, October 22 in Washington, DC.

In addition to the Trumpeter Award, NCL will honor Bonnie Patten, co-founder and executive director of Truth In Advertising, with the 2019 Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award, named for NCL’s first general secretary and one of the most influential figures in 20th Century American history.

MEDIA ADVISORY

What: National Consumers League’s 2019 Trumpeter Awards
When: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 | 7 pm Dinner and Presentation of Awards

Where: The Mayflower Hotel | Chinese Ballroom
1127 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20036

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the National Consumers League, which honors leaders in the fight for consumer and worker rights each year with its 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 recipients were Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA).

“The Trumpeter Award is NCL’s highest honor, 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 President Sara Nelson, a rising star in the labor movement who is fighting every day for working families,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Sara has served as a leading voice on issues facing women in the workplace and across the country, encouraging women everywhere to join unions and to run them. She is both an inspiring example for women and a heroic advocate for all workers across the country. Sara’s dedication to improving the quality of life for workers in the United States has earned her this year’s Trumpeter Award.” 

“Deceptive marketing and false advertising take advantage and cost consumers billions of dollars each year,” said John Breyault, NCL vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud. “Enter TruthInAdvertising.org. Bonnie Patten and her team of dedicated lawyers and consumer education specialists work every day to hold flim-flam artists accountable and empower consumers to protect themselves and one another against deceptive marketing. Bonnie is devoted to promoting honest, fair, and accurate advertising of consumer products and services, and we are delighted to present her with this award to honor her commitment to consumer education and protection.”

This year’s Trumpeter Awards will feature a reception, dinner, and speaking appearances by NCL leadership and the honorees, as well as Maria Cardona, CNN/CNNE Commentator & Principal of Dewey Square Group as well as:

  • Former Trumpeter honoree and United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts
  • The Honorable Donna Edwards, former U.S. Representative from Maryland’s 4th District

To learn more, visit nclnet.org/trumpeter_awards.

Members of the media are welcome to attend this event but must RSVP. For questions or to RSVP: Call Carol McKay, (724) 799-5392 or Taun Sterling, (202) 207-2832

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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.

AAOA and National Consumers League Raise Awareness About Prescription Opioid Abuse Safety

October 16, 2019

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

Alexandria, VA—Allied Against Opioid Abuse (AAOA) and the National Consumers League (NCL) released a new suite of resources to help educate consumers about prescription opioid safety. The AAOA-NCL Consumer Toolkit provides materials to help reinforce the need for patients, caregivers, parents and others to understand their rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioid use.

Education plays a crucial role in helping consumers understand the importance of safely using, storing and disposing of prescription opioids,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director, NCL. “We are pleased to partner with AAOA on this important set of resources, which will provide individuals with actionable steps that they can take to keep prescription opioids secure and prevent misuse and abuse of these medicines among family and friends.”  

The AAOA-NCL Consumer Toolkit addresses common questions that patients may have about their rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioids, and highlights facts about opioid medications to fill a knowledge gap and prevent misuse before it occurs. The toolkit includes the following resources:

AAOA has taken a leading role in sharing information and fostering communication between patients, consumers and the medical community to help reduce prescription opioid abuse,” said John Parker, Senior Vice President of Communications for the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, the founding member of AAOA. “By leveraging NCL’s expertise, our goal is to communicate directly with consumers about the important role everyone has to play in ensuring the appropriate use, storage and disposal of prescription opioids.”  

In August, the AAOA-HealthyWomen Toolkit was released to help educate women, in their role as consumers and caregivers, about what they can do to prevent the misuse and abuse of prescription opioids in the home. To learn more about AAOA’s resources, including a series of videos that raise awareness about prescription opioid safety, visit www.AgainstOpioidAbuse.org/Act.

For press inquiries, contact press@againstopioidabuse.org

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About Allied Against Opioid Abuse
Allied Against Opioid Abuse is a national education and awareness initiative to help prevent abuse and misuse of prescription opioids. Founded by the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, the initiative is a collaborative effort with diverse partners across the pharmaceutical supply chain, as well as organizations that are experts in public health and healthcare, including Alliance for Aging Research, American Pharmacists Association, American Physical Therapy Association, BeMedWise, Caregiver Action Network, Gerontological Society of America, Healthcare Leadership Council, HealthyWomen, Men’s Health Network, Mental Health America, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration, National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Consumers League, National Transitions of Care Coalition, Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, and the PA Foundation. Our goal is to contribute to solving the opioid crisis in a meaningful way by educating patients about their rights, risks and responsibilities. To learn more, visit www.AgainstOpioidAbuse.org or follow us on Twitter: @AAOA_Tweets.

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: Cars need to come with data deletion buttons to enhance consumer privacy protections

October 3, 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, America’s pioneering worker and consumer advocacy organization, today called on Congress to take steps to rein in car manufacturers’ data collection practices and ensure that consumers have a mechanism to easily delete personal information collected about them by their vehicles.

Thanks to a proliferation of sensors, cellular connectivity and powerful in-car infotainment systems, modern cars can reportedly generate 25 gigabytes every hour and 4,000 gigabytes of data per day. In its new white paper, the consumer group examined the vast scope of personal information being collected about drivers by automobile companies to power a vast data engine that could be worth $750 billion by 2030.

“Every time a consumer gets in a car — whether it’s a vehicle she owns, rents, or rides in – huge amounts of personal data get shared with car companies with practically no oversight or consumer protections,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “We want to shine a light on car companies’ data practices and encourage Congress to create common-sense rules of road for this growing marketplace.”

The NCL white paper examines several existing laws and proposed bills to offer a framework to legislators for steps they can take to better protect the privacy and data security of the driving public. In particular, NCL is urging Congress to mandate that car manufacturers include an easy-to-use data deletion functionality in all new cars to help consumers take control over their in-car data.

“Consumers just want to get from point A to point B safely,” said Greenberg. “While the data generated by our cars can help fuel innovation in the auto industry, that shouldn’t come at the expense of our privacy. Consumers are looking to Congress to take the lead and ensure that car company’s data collection practices have some sensible guardrails.”

Read NCL’s new white paper here. (pdf)

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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.

AdvoCare settlement highlights FTC’s importance in protecting consumers from pyramid schemes

October 2, 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—Today, the National Consumers League, the nation’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization applauded the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for its successful investigation and settlement with multi-level marketing (MLM) company AdvoCare. The settlement, in addition to providing $150 million in relief to victims, implements a lifetime ban preventing AdvoCare from ever rejoining the MLM business.

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

Today’s settlement once again highlights the central role that the FTC plays in protecting Americans from illegal pyramid schemes. The FTC has a 45-year track record of winning favorable settlements and court judgements against pyramid schemes. In spite of this, many leading members of the direct selling industry continue to push a discredited bill that would dramatically undermine the Commission’s ability to protect consumers against companies like AdvoCare. 

Under the Orwellian name of the “Anti-Pyramid Promotional Scheme Act,” the bill would create a series of carve outs and safe harbors that would prevent the FTC from protecting consumers and entrepreneurs from all but the most blatant pyramid schemes.

Today’s actions by the FTC demonstrate the need for  continued  consumer protection under its existing authority. NCL opposes pyramid scheme legalization bills like the Anti-Pyramid Promotional Scheme Act, which is even now being peddled by industry lobbyists. We hope this bill will once again be stopped from gaining momentum by members of Congress.

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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.

The National Consumers League applauds House passage of FAIR Act

September 30, 2019

Bill would ban forced arbitration clauses in consumer and worker contracts

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 applauding the groundbreaking legislation passed in the U.S. House of Representatives to restore legal rights to millions of American workers and consumers.

By a vote of 225-186 September 27, the House adopted the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act, banning companies from forcing workers and consumers to resolve legal disputes in private arbitration—a forum essentially controlled by the company with no judge, no jury, and no oversight. 

These clauses have become ubiquitous in employment and consumer contracts, “take or leave it” contracts of adhesion that make it impossible for workers to sue their bosses in court for sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage theft, and nearly anything else or consumers to sue when a product proves dangerous, falsely advertised or marketed or violation of privacy or other rights. Arbitration is a rigged system where workers and consumers are less likely to win their cases in private arbitration, and when they do win, they tend to get much less money than they would in court.

Outlawing forced arbitration would restore access to the courts to more than 60 million U.S. workers who have signed away their right to sue.

“Arbitration is one of the central ways in which corporate America has rigged the system against middle class families, working people,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said Friday on the House floor.

The bill will likely face some resistance from Republicans in the Senate, but passing it in the House is a victory for workers and consumers. “It’s about time our House of Representatives stood up for democracy and the little guy,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director. “We thank Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and members of the House Judiciary Committee for their leadership to move this bill and restore consumer and worker rights and hold corporate wrongdoers accountable.”

As Greenberg noted, “Forced arbitration clauses are toxic for companies and employees; they embolden companies to break the law with impunity, knowing they will never be held accountable because they cannot be sued in most democratic institution in the American democracy -our courts. Passage of the FAIR Act is an essential step to this end run around protecting the rights o average Americans.”

Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act, briefly explained (Source: Vox)

The FAIR Act, introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), would ban businesses from forcing workers and consumers to give up rights through mandatory arbitration clauses. It would also invalidate current agreements that have already been signed, but only for disputes that come up after the law goes into effect. 

The same bill was before the House last year, but did not get support from Republicans, who controlled the chamber at that time.  This time around, the challenge will be to get it through the Senate. But Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have recently shown an interest in curbing forced arbitration.

NCL applauds the House of Representatives for this historic vote and for its support for consumer and worker rights. We urge the Senate to move with dispatch, pass the bill and send it to the President’s desk for signature and enactment.

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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.

The National Consumers League statement on Senate confirmation of Eugene Scalia as Secretary of Labor

September 30, 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) issued this statement in response to the Senate’s 53-44 vote last week to confirm Eugene Scalia as Secretary of Labor.

The National Consumers League (NCL) is disappointed by the Senate’s confirmation this week of Eugene Scalia as Secretary of Labor. The Labor Secretary should be a champion of the working women and men. The National Consumers League is proud that this nation’s first female cabinet member and Secretary of Labor – Frances Perkins – began her professional career representing NCL in New York and was a witness to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City in 2011, which led to her focus on fire codes and safety reforms in the workplace. As Perkins once said: “I came to Washington to work for God, FDR, and the millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen.”

Instead of being a champion for workers, Scalia has devoted his legal career to defending corporate interests:

  • He criticized a Clinton-era rule to protect workers from repetitive stress injuries that was repealed early in the Bush administration
  • He defended Boeing from a labor union lawsuit
  • He fought on behalf of Wal-Mart against a Maryland law aimed at improving workers’ health care.
  • He represented Wal-Mart Secretaries of Labor – to understand the plight of workers, advocate for better pay, working conditions, benefits and safety.
  • He represented the Chamber of Commerce opposing rules requiring mutual fund companies to put independent overseers on their boards of directors, and insurance companies challenging the SEC’s authority to regulate certain annuities with values tied to stocks

As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has noted: “It is insulting and dangerous that lifelong union-buster Eugene Scalia is the country’s top labor official. His track record is well documented, and it’s clear he has yet to find a worker protection he supports or a corporate loophole he opposes. Making the Labor Department—whose mission is to defend the rights of workers and enforce the law—a satellite office of a corporate right-wing law firm flies in the face of working people’s clearly expressed desires.” 

As Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, noted about Scalia:  “The last thing working people need is another Secretary of Labor who sides with corporate CEOs instead of hard-working Americans and makes it harder to join together in unions.”

NCL, which works with DOL on a range of issues, urges the new DOL Secretary to reconsider his inclination to support corporations over the interests of working families and balance these interests with a focus on the impact on workers.

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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.