NCL expresses concern over Colorado Senate Bill 184, which seeks to impose new tax on car rental consumers

March 29, 2024

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League (NCL) recently sent a letter to Chairwoman Faith Winter of the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee, Colorado State Senate, expressing concern over Senate Bill 184, which seeks to impose a new tax on car rental consumers of up to $3 per day, for the purpose of creating a new rail light line service. NCL does not believe taxpayers should bear the burden of paying for this new service.

The full letter can be found here.

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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 nclnet.org.

NCL applauds Biden Administration’s new actions to minimize education costs

March 15, 2024

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – Today, the Biden Administration announced new initiatives to reduce unnecessary fees consumers face when enrolled in higher education. The president’s proposed budget and the Department of Education are seeking to eliminate student loan origination fees, which cost consumers over $1 billion each year just to take out a loan; limit exploitative junk fees associated with financial services that colleges may provide through banking partnerships; require colleges to return unused “flex dollars” to students before they expire at the end of a semester; and eliminate restrictions that would prevent students from purchasing textbooks off-campus, where they may be sold at a lower price than the university would charge.

The following statement is attributable to National Consumers League Chief Executive Officer, Sally Greenberg:

“Higher education should be a marker of academic achievement, not something to be foreclosed because of a student’s economic background. If finalized, these new initiatives would reduce financial barriers that prevent many students from obtaining an advanced degree and leave others with years of debt. I urge Congress to fulfill the president’s proposed elimination of loan origination fees and look forward to the finalized rules from the Education Department.”

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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 nclnet.org.

National Consumers League condemns legislation in Florida that preempts local ordinances to protect workers from heat exposure

March 15, 2024

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League is condemning a vote by the Florida House of Representatives to approve legislation that will upend Miami-Dade’s proposed local workplace standards requiring drinking water, cooling measures, recovery periods, posting or distributing materials informing workers how to protect themselves, and requiring first aid or emergency responses. The Florida Senate approved the measure yesterday.

This measure rushed through the state legislature ahead of adjournment on Friday, March 8th and will prevent local governments throughout Florida from requiring water, shade breaks or training so workers can protect themselves from heat illness, injury, and fatality.

Reid Maki, director of child labor advocacy for the Child Labor Coalition under the National Consumers League, made this statement:

“Not only is the Florida legislature usurping the duty of local government to protect workers from heat stress in one of the hottest states in America, but by denying workers access to water and protection this Dickensian measure ignores the reality of heat and heatstroke among Florida’s workers. Indeed, hundreds of workers die across the U.S. from heat exposure each year. The legislation also forbids the posting of educational materials to help workers protect themselves from the heat.

NCL has throughout its history worked to eradicate child labor and abusive labor practices, including protecting children in America working in the fields from exposure to heat, dangerous chemicals, and long hours. U.S. law allows children to work at younger ages in the agricultural sector despite its significantly increased danger. It also allows teens to do work known to be dangerous at younger ages—16 versus 18. NCL works to close both of those loopholes and protect children from agricultural dangers and exploitation. These vulnerable teen workers in agriculture are at great risk from heat exposure.

NCL is urging Governor Ron DeSantis to veto this legislation. NCL also urges the United States Congress to enact the Asuncíon Valdivia Heat Illness, Injury and Fatality Prevention Act, which would direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to adopt interim heat standards, while the agency continues its years-long slog of adopting a final heat protection rule. NCL is a member of the national Heat Stress Network, which works to protect outdoor works from heat dangers.

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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 nclnet.org.

NCL responds to Senators Crapo, Wyden announcement on needed PBM reforms

March 14, 2024

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League (NCL) today released a statement following Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) recent press conference announcing their push to include bipartisan PBM reforms in the broader funding package.

The following statement is attributable to NCL Chief Executive Officer, Sally Greenberg:

“For far too long now, PBMs have been taking advantage of our drug pricing system, finding ways to increase their profits without delivering value to consumers. Now, after years of investigations, pharmacy closures and high out-of-pocket costs, our leaders are doing something about it. By disconnecting Medicare prescription drug costs from PBM profits, this legislation will address one of the many ways PBMs use the system to their financial advantage. Congress has a huge opportunity to help seniors better afford and access the medications they need. We urge Congress to get this done without delay.”

Learn more about NCL’s work to address the PBM problem here.

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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 nclnet.org.

NCL applauds Biden Administration actions to minimize unfair charges, protect producers from retaliation

March 5, 2024

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – Today, the White House Competition Council announced new actions to lower costs for consumers and promote market health. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finalized a rule to save consumers $10 billion a year by capping credit card late fees to an average of $8. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is initiating a ban on bulk billing, a practice where landlords or service providers charge all tenants in a building for a particular service—even for residents who do not choose that service. Lastly, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is implementing protections for farmers and ranchers from retaliatory practices used by the industry’s dominant firms.

The following statement is attributable to NCL Chief Executive Officer Sally Greenberg:

“Under President Biden’s leadership, consumer protection agencies are doing critical work to guard the marketplace against industry misconduct. As more industry sectors have become increasingly consolidated, today’s actions are necessary to ensure that consumers aren’t ripped off and to protect producers from illegal retaliation and discrimination. When businesses concentrate market power and employ unfair practices to maintain that dominance, new legal safeguards and structural reform become necessary to protect the public from further harm. Today’s announcements are an important piece of this effort to maintain healthy marketplaces that benefit consumers and workers.”

The National Consumers League has worked to protect both consumers and workers from consolidated corporate power since 1899. From advocating against banking fees that disproportionately affect marginalized communities to fighting for transparency in telecom billing, NCL continues to provide a voice for the public interest.

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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 nclnet.org.

NCL expresses support for ending the subminimum wage for tipped workers in the state of Connecticut

March 4, 2024

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – NCL CEO Sally Greenberg recently testified to the members of the Committee on Labor and Public Employees of the Connecticut General Assembly urging the inclusion of ending the subminimum wage for tipped workers in SB 221. In Connecticut, the subminimum wage for tipped workers is currently at $6.38 per hour.

The restaurant industry in Connecticut “needs to stop basing its business strategy on a 150-year-old system that is the direct legacy of slavery and join the modern working world,” says Greenberg. “It is time to raise the wage and ensure Connecticut’s restaurant industry does not get left behind.”

Greenberg cited One Fair Wage’s recent report claiming the current restaurant industry isn’t facing a worker shortage but rather a wage shortage. One Fair Wage recently published a fact sheet showing a comparative analysis of small business restaurants in Connecticut vs in California.

Greenberg’s full testimony can be found here.

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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 nclnet.org.

NCL applauds FTC action to stop imminent grocery monopoly 

February 26, 2024

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and bipartisan state attorneys general sued to block the proposed merger between Kroger and Albertsons. The $24.6 billion deal—the largest supermarket merger in U.S. history—would create a near monopoly by consolidating 5,000 stores and 4,000 pharmacies under one corporation. Without FTC action, consumers would see inflated prices and workers would be stuck with anticompetitive compensation.

“Decades of ignoring federal law have allowed industry consolidation to grow unchecked, leaving everyone worse off except for a handful of executives at the top,” said NCL CEO Sally Greenberg. “The FTC is rightfully asserting its authority and putting the interest of consumers and workers first. Monopolists should know that they can no longer take advantage of the American public without facing legal challenges.”

The proposed deal would eliminate competition between Kroger (including Fred Meyer, Fry’s, and Harris Teer) and Albertsons (among its subsidiaries are Haggen, Safeway, and Vons). Last year, a coalition including NCL and 250 national, state, and local organizations urged the FTC to prevent this merger from taking place. Joining the FTC’s lawsuit are bipartisan attorneys general representing Arizona, California, D.C., Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wyoming.

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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 nclnet.org.

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

December 19, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

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

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

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

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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 nclnet.org.

NCL statement on DOT’s fine against Southwest Airlines

December 18, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

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

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

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

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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 nclnet.org.

NCL applauds President Biden’s landmark AI executive order 

October 31, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – Yesterday, President Biden signed an executive order to establish the most comprehensive standards to date regarding artificial intelligence (AI). The following statement is attributable to National Consumers League (NCL) Chief Executive Officer Sally Greenberg:

“NCL applauds the Biden Administration for centering consumers and workers in its landmark executive order addressing AI. It is critical that the development of artificial intelligence aligns with our democratic values, preserves civil rights, and protects consumers’ health and safety as well as our privacy. Importantly, the Biden Administration has made clear that there is no exception for AI from the law as it continues to model how policymakers should tackle this issue. While the president’s order is a critical step forward, Congress must pass a robust bill to ensure lasting and comprehensive federal law governing AI.”

As part of the sweeping executive order, federal agencies are to provide clear guidance to landlords, federal benefits administrators, and federal contractors to ensure that AI does not discriminate against consumers and beneficiaries. The president also addressed the potential harms to workers from the use of AI in workplace surveillance, job displacement, union-busting, and discriminatory hiring practices.

NCL has been advocating for consumers and workers in our push for AI regulation, including requiring the labelling of AI-generated content to minimize deception to users.

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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 nclnet.org.