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NCL applauds brave New York State legislators who stood up to anti-vaxxers by eliminating religious exemptions for vaccines

June 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—The National Consumers League (NCL) strongly supports the New York legislature’s vote yesterday to end religious exemptions for vaccinations. New York has been the epicenter of the nation’s measles outbreak. 

“We applaud the fortitude of legislators in standing up to opposition from religious groups and vaccine skeptics who claim that vaccination laws infringe on religious and constitutional rights,” said Sally Greenberg, the League’s executive director. As the outbreak of measles in 2019 hits record highs for an illness that is totally preventable through vaccination, New York joins the states of Arizona, California, Mississippi, Maine, and West Virginia in banning religious exemptions.

The current measles outbreak has spread to 28 states, with more than 1,000 cases in total, the highest number since 1992, when more than 2,000 cases were recorded. Highly contagious, measles can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The New York legislators withstood opposition from angry opponents—many with young children and infants—who invoked the will of God and their rights as parents. The measure in the New York State Assembly passed, 77 to 53 and State Senate approved the bill, 36-26. Governor Andrew Cuomo bravely signed the legislation moments after it passed the Senate, saying that vaccines “are safe, effective and the best way to keep our children safe.” 

“Measles is a highly contagious and dangerous illness, especially for children who are too young to be vaccinated or those who cannot, for health reasons or compromised immune systems, be vaccinated,” said Nissa Shaffi, health policy associate for NCL.

“The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is an extremely safe and effective public health measure that protects the entire community, especially children who are too young to receive vaccinations and rely on the general population for protection against debilitating diseases,” said Shaffi.

Religious reasons or personal preferences cannot be an excuse for exposing whole communities to totally preventable illnesses–and even death–when vaccines provide extremely safe and effective protections for all citizens. The New York Legislature made the absolute right decision in standing up to ignorance and misinformation spread by anti-vaccination forces,” said 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.

The BOSS ACT is the fix a broken ticket market needs

June 13, 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, the nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy organization, applauds Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for reintroducing the Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing Act of 2019 (“BOSS ACT”). The bill will create much-needed transparency in a live event ticketing marketplace that is too often rigged against consumers. 

“Today’s ticketing marketplace is rigged against the consumer,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Unfair and deceptive practices such as sky-high fees, undisclosed ticket holdbacks, deceptive speculative ticketing, and anti-consumer ticket terms are rampant. Fans are fed up with the artificially-engineered ticket scarcity, deceptive advertisements, ticket-buying bots, and cornucopia of hidden fees that too often prevent them from seeing their favorite artist or sports team at an affordable price.” 

The BOSS ACT will change that. The bill takes a comprehensive approach to putting fans back in the driver’s seat by:  

  • Requiring all-in pricing on the primary and secondary ticket markets, ending the practice of slamming consumers with hidden fees during high-pressure checkout processes; 
  • Requiring primary ticket sellers to be honest about how many seats they plan on making available; 
  • Eliminating resale price floors which artificially inflate prices and saddle ticket holders with seats they cannot use or sell; 
  • Allowing fans to resell their tickets in the manner they choose; 
  • Prohibiting unethical scalpers from impersonating venues’ and teams’ websites to charge higher prices for less-desirable seats; 
  • Requiring the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to identify ways to improve their enforcement against illegal ticket buying bots.  

At an FTC workshop on live event ticketing this week, representatives of the leading primary and secondary ticket marketplaces came together and expressed their support for federal legislation that would require all-in pricing for event tickets. “In an unprecedented show of industry consensus, businesses from across the live event industry pledged to do the right thing by consumers and support all-in pricing of tickets,” said John Breyault, NCL vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud. “The BOSS ACT is the industry’s opportunity to show whether it is serious about tackling the rampant abuses of consumers in the ticket marketplace.” 

The National Consumers League applauds Congressmen Pascrell and Pallone and Senator Blumenthal for their continued leadership on this issue and urge members of Congress to stand up and support this important consumer protection legislation. 

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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.

JPMorgan Chase wants to deny cardholders’ access to justice

June 10, 2019

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

Washington, DCThe National Consumers League (NCL), America’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, is calling on the leadership of JPMorgan Chase to reverse its decision to reinstate anti-consumer arbitration clauses affecting 47 million customers. The following statement is attributable to NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

“Chase’s decision to turn back the clock to the late 2000’s is one that will deny tens of millions of cardholders the right to their day in court. Chase should be better than this. If requiring customers to go to arbitration is ‘faster, less expensive with better outcomes,’ as Chase claims, why require cardholders to opt out to avoid these arbitration clauses? The company should instead give customers some incentive to opt in to arbitration if they so choose. The truth is that companies like Chase know that by requiring customers to waive their rights to access the courts, corporate wrong-doing will go unchecked. We call on JPMorgan Chase to reverse its decision and do right by its 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.

JPMorgan Chase wants to deny cardholders’ access to justice

June 10, 2019

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

Washington, DCThe National Consumers League (NCL), America’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, is calling on the leadership of JPMorgan Chase to reverse its decision to reinstate anti-consumer arbitration clauses affecting 47 million customers. The following statement is attributable to NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

“Chase’s decision to turn back the clock to the late 2000’s is one that will deny tens of millions of cardholders the right to their day in court. Chase should be better than this. If requiring customers to go to arbitration is ‘faster, less expensive with better outcomes,’ as Chase claims, why require cardholders to opt out to avoid these arbitration clauses? The company should instead give customers some incentive to opt in to arbitration if they so choose. The truth is that companies like Chase know that by requiring customers to waive their rights to access the courts, corporate wrong-doing will go unchecked. We call on JPMorgan Chase to reverse its decision and do right by its 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.

JPMorgan Chase wants to deny cardholders’ access to justice

June 10, 2019

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

Washington, DCThe National Consumers League (NCL), America’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, is calling on the leadership of JPMorgan Chase to reverse its decision to reinstate anti-consumer arbitration clauses affecting 47 million customers. The following statement is attributable to NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

“Chase’s decision to turn back the clock to the late 2000’s is one that will deny tens of millions of cardholders the right to their day in court. Chase should be better than this. If requiring customers to go to arbitration is ‘faster, less expensive with better outcomes,’ as Chase claims, why require cardholders to opt out to avoid these arbitration clauses? The company should instead give customers some incentive to opt in to arbitration if they so choose. The truth is that companies like Chase know that by requiring customers to waive their rights to access the courts, corporate wrong-doing will go unchecked. We call on JPMorgan Chase to reverse its decision and do right by its 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.

Meatpacking workers, consumers safeguarded by House measure to overhaul pork line speed rule

June 5, 2019

Amendment blocks the USDA from issuing final rule on swine inspection, pending OIG study to support food safety rules

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 commending Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and David Price (D-NC) for teaming up to offer an amendment to delay the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s misguided and hazardous proposed rule to strip all speed limits at pig slaughterhouses and to force transparency around its flawed process. The removal of limits could allow slaughterhouses to handle a mind-boggling 1,300 or more pigs per hour and risk improper stun-gunning of livestock in the rush to process them quickly, endangering workers’ safety, public health, and animal welfare.

“Even at current line speeds, pork slaughter and processing workers face many job risks that can lead to severe injury, illness, and death. Meatpacking workers in hog slaughter plants work in cold, wet, noisy, and slippery conditions, making tens of thousands of forceful repetitive motions on each shift. Meatpacking workers are injured at 2.4 times the rate of other industries and they face illness rates at 17 times the rate of other industries,” wrote members of Congress in a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. The proposed rule would also turn over inspection responsibilities to company employees, allow slaughterhouses to define their own microbiological criteria for food safety performance, and usher in comprehensive reforms to longstanding inspection practices without a reliable means of evaluating their efficacy.

The “modernization” of the Swine Slaughter Inspection System will not lead to safer food. Eliminating line speed limits makes it harder for federal meat inspectors and workers in plants to do their jobs. Ultimately, this means it will be less safe for consumers to eat pork.

The amendment blocks funding for implementation of the rule until the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducts an investigation of all data used by the USDA to develop the proposal. Previously, this data, including worker-safety data was not publicly disclosed until after the closure of the public review and comment period for the proposed rule. The Amendment mandates that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service fully address and resolve the issues raised by the OIG before the funding hold can be lifted.

NCL is deeply grateful for the leadership of Reps. DeLauro and Price and wishes for the Senate to sustain this vital amendment.

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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 letter to Congress: Raising the Passenger Facility Charge will hurt travelers and families

May 10, 2019

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

The Honorable Peter DeFazio
Chairman
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. House of Representatives
2165 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Maria Cantwell
Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
511 Hart Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20500

The Honorable Rick Larsen
Chairman
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Subcommittee on Aviation
U.S. House of Representatives
1529 Longworth House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kyrsten Sinema
Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Subcommittee on Aviation and Space
825B Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Re: Raising the Passenger Facility Charge Will Hurt Travelers and Families

Dear Senator Cantwell, Congressman DeFazio, Congressman Larsen, and Senator Sinema,

On behalf of the National Consumers League, America’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, I am writing today to share our concerns about the proposal to increase the Passenger Facility Charge (“PFC”) that is under consideration by your committees. There is undoubtedly a need to invest in updating America’s airport infrastructure. However, massive infrastructure projects are already underway and even more are planned, all financed with existing funding sources. Therefore, we disagree that new funds should be generated by raising fees yet again on consumers.

As you know, the PFC is currently capped at $4.50. Some airport executives have proposed increasing the cap to $8.50 per segment and indexing the PFC to inflation.[1] While this may seem like a marginal increase on its face, this fee hike could add up to $64 more for a family of four to travel when layovers are factored in.[2] This would disproportionately burden budget-conscious consumers and families buying less expensive tickets, who already face an array of taxes and ancillary fees. Moreover, the increase will unfairly burden travelers who do not reside near hub airports and typically have to fly multiple segments to reach their destinations.

Since 2009, $165 billion in infrastructure projects have been funded at the current PFC cap level. In 2017, U.S. airports collected a record $30 billion of revenue—growing 47% on a per passenger basis since 2000, outpacing inflation. As anyone traveling through our nation’s airports can attest, there is no shortage of opportunities for airports to obtain revenue; rents paid by gift shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, rental car and parking facilities to name only a few.  Airports should utilize the funds they already have before asking Congress to burden American families and consumers with yet another tax.

Passengers are already paying enough to fly. I encourage you to consider those who will ultimately pay the price for the proposed PFC increase – families, especially rural families, who already pay their fair share in taxes and fees when traveling. Until a persuasive case can be made for additional fees to be passed on to the flying public, we urge you to reject an increase in the PFC cap.

Sincerely,

John Breyault
Vice President, Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud
National Consumers League
Phone: (202) 207-2819
Email: johnb@nclnet.org

[1] Silk, Robert. “PFC redux: Airport and airline lobbyists resume the fight,” Travel Weekly. March 26, 2019. Online: https://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News/Airline-News/PFC-redux

[2] Airlines for American. “A4A Urges Senators to Reject Massive Secret Tax Hike in Unreleased THUD Appropriations Bill,” Press release. July 25, 2017. Online: https://www.airlines.org/news/a4a-urges-senators-to-reject-massive-secret-tax-hike-in-unreleased-thud-appropriations-bill/w.marketwatch.com/press-release/a4a-urges-senators-to-reject-massive-secret-tax-hike-in-unreleased-thud-appropriations-bill-2017-07-25

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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 urges withdrawal of expected Federal Reserve nominee Stephen Moore

May 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—The National Consumers League (NCL) is urging President Trump to withdraw his consideration of Stephen Moore as a nominee to the Federal Reserve Bank’s Board of Governors after the revelation that Moore supports unequal pay for men and women and favors the elimination of many child labor laws.

According to a report in Slate, Moore said during a 2016 debate about the minimum wage that the United States should eliminate many of its child labor laws to help individuals get early work experience. “I’m radical on this,” said Moore, “I’d get rid of a lot of these child labor laws. I want people starting to work at 11, 12.”

“Since 1899, the National Consumers League has worked to protect children from the health and safety dangers of child labor and its horrific impact on children’s education,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Stephen Moore is out of touch on modern labor protections and would wipe out over 100 years of labor progress and endanger countless children.”

“The number of child occupational deaths have fallen dramatically over the last century as child work in factory, coal mines, and other dangerous jobs have been outlawed,” said Reid Maki, NCL’s Director of Child Labor Advocacy and the coordinator of the Child Labor Coalition, which NCL founded 30 years ago and continues to co-chair. “We must not turn back the clock and reverse this progress by gutting our child labor laws.”

The Trump Administration has attempted to weaken current child labor laws by pursuing regulations that would allow teens working in nursing homes to operate patient lifts without adult supervision. “This would endanger both the patient and the teen worker,” said Maki. The administration also tried to reverse an Obama Administration ban on children applying pesticides at work. “It appears that this awful idea has been abandoned,” noted Maki.

In 2014, Moore expressed hope that men would continue to be their family’s “breadwinners” and characterized the gender pay gap between men and women as a distraction from falling wages. He also said that women should be banned from serving as college announcers and referees in college basketball games. “The Federal Reserve plays a critical role in directing the American economy. There’s no place on its Board of Governors for someone who shows no concern for the gender pay gap or someone who would deny women equal access to jobs,” added Greenberg.

CNN reports that Moore has attacked the Violence Against Women Act as the “most objectionable pork” in the 1994 crime bill. Multiple news reports have indicated that Moore had a contempt of court citing for failing to pay alimony and child support to an ex-wife and that he owes the IRS more than $75,000 in back taxes. “There are ample reasons for the president to withdraw Stephen Moore from consideration,” said 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.

• The National Consumers League v. Gerber Products Co., No. 2014 CA 008502 B (D.C. Superior Ct.)

May 1, 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”) and Gerber Products Co. (“Gerber”) look forward to working together to further the important goals of supporting consumers of all ages, addressing hunger and food insecurity, and maximizing nutrition awareness.  Both NCL and Gerber value giving back to their communities.  As NCL and Gerber forge a consumer-focused alliance for the future, Gerber has agreed to continue its commitment to consumers and nutrition by providing an in-kind donation to certain local food banks and other organizations as a supplement to its regular donations.  These organizations provide crucial assistance to vulnerable residents of the D.C. metropolitan area especially in times of need.  NCL thanks Gerber for working with our organization and its support of NCL’s mission.

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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 Oregon drug importation legislation

April 26, 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—As the nation’s pioneer consumer organization, the National Consumers League (NCL) strongly supports consumer access to safe, effective, and affordable prescription drugs. However, NCL is concerned that three pending bills in Oregon (Senate Bill 409House Bill 2680, and House Bill 2689), which would allow for the importation of prescription drugs from Canadawould make the public vulnerable to counterfeit and/or substandard drugs, thus putting patient health and safety at risk.  

Counterfeit medications made with deadly ingredients have been found in more than 40 states across America, posing a significant public health threat. There is no way to ensure that drugs purporting to come from Canada actually come from Canada. An FDA evaluation of non-FDA-approved imported drugs revealed that “while nearly half of imported drugs claimed to be Canadian or from Canadian pharmacies, 85 percent of such drugs were actually from different countries.” Allowing importation will only serve to exacerbate the challenge of preventing counterfeit drugs from reaching American patients. 

Every head of Health and Human Services and the FDA for the last 18 years has refused to certify the safety of drug importation. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb explained that online pharmacies advertising the sale of Canadian-approved medicine most likely source medication from other countries, which may be “expired, mislabeled, subject to recalls, or potentially counterfeit.” NCL fears that authorizing importation would expose consumers to unknown risks and undermine the security of the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain. 

Rather than considering misguided importation proposals, NCL encourages the Oregon legislature to pursue other strategies to ensure the affordability and accessibility of safe and effective prescription drugs.   

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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.