National Consumers League

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Communities of Color Symposium Feb. 6, 2014


Reserve your seat today! Consumer Financial Services Symposium on Feb. 6 


Communities of color are too often victimized by predatory and unfair lending practices. The subprime housing crisis and ensuing economic recession have produced the largest wealth gap in decades between white households and families of color.


Join us for an examination of how many financial and other institutions have put communities of color at a disadvantage in the financial services arena, with a special emphasis on mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and telecommunications services, and a discussion of what we can do to address these inequities.


Expert panelists and speakers will meet for a day-long symposium in Washington, DC to discuss these important issues and their impact on communities of color.    



Featuring:


Senator Elizabeth Warren
Congressman Keith Ellison


 


A keynote conversation between:
Edith Ramirez, FTC Chair
Mignon L. Clyburn, FCC Commissioner


Lunch keynote ~ Patrice Ficklin, CFPB


You must register to attend. Event is closed to members of the press.


Featuring other panelists from:


Center for American Progress
Center for Responsible Lending
NAACP
National Community Reinvestment Coalition
National Council of La Raza
National Urban League


Sponsored by:


National Consumers League
Center for Responsible Lending
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies


NCL Consumer protection symposium on Congressional priorities announced


You are invited to an informative discussion about Congressional priorities regarding three key consumer topics:


 


Food Safety | Sequestration | Privacy


Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 11:30 am – 3:30 pm, Lunch served at 12:45


Rayburn House Office Building, Room B369 (basement level) | 45 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20515


The symposium is open to the public and will feature expert panelists from the Executive and Legislative branches, consumer groups, media, and industry.


Expert Panelists


Food Safety
Moderator: Sarah Roller, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
Mia Dell
, United Food and Commercial Workers Union
Sandra Eskin
, The Pew Charitable Trusts
Monica Sakala, Wired Momma blog
Michael R. Taylor
, Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, FDA


Sequestration
Moderator: Moses Boyd, Integrated Solutions Group
Steve Bell,
Bipartisan Policy Center
Patrick Lester, OMB Watch
Anne Northup

Keith Wrightson
, Public Citizen


Privacy
Moderator: Tony Romm, POLITICO
Commissioner Julie Brill, FTC
Justin Brookman
, Center for Democracy and Technology
Chris Calabrese
, ACLU
Daniel Sepulveda, Office of Sen. John Kerry


Join us!
There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. Please RSVP by Nov. 7
here
or call NCL’s Amy Sonderman, (202) 835-3323, x829


Follow the event on Twitter: #ConsumerCliff


 


Special thanks to Kelley Drye and Warren, LLP for helping to underwrite this event.


Read about our event at the International Association of Privacy Professionals


Meet this year's Trumpeter honoree: Labor legend Cecil E. Roberts



On October 4, the National Consumers League will honor Cecil E. Roberts, International President of the United Mine Workers of America, with the 2012 Trumpeter Award. In presenting President Roberts with the prestigious Trumpeter Award, NCL recognizes his incredible efforts to champion the rights of working Americans by organizing on both the grassroots and national levels. His leadership is founded on a passionate conviction to keep workplaces safe and healthful while ensuring fair compensation for workers.


Cecil Roberts, a sixth-generation coal miner and one of the labor movement's most stirring and sought-after orators, became President of the United Mine Workers (UMWA) of America on October 22, 1995, having served as Vice President of the union since December 1982. Roberts succeeded Richard L. Trumka, who was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO.


Growing up in a UMWA household on Cabin Creek in Kanawha County, WV, Roberts heard the stories of his family, including a great-uncle, Bill Blizzard, who was a legendary organizer during the West Virginia mine wars of the 1920's and a UMWA District President under John L. Lewis. Both of his grandfathers were killed in the mines.


After military service in Vietnam and college, Roberts worked for six years at Carbon Fuels’ No. 31 mine in Winifred, West Virginia, where he served as a local union officer. In 1977 he was elected Vice President of UMWA District 17 by a 2-to-1 margin. In May 1981, he was reelected without opposition.


On November 9, 1982, Roberts was elected Vice President of the UMWA International Union, again by a 2-to-1 margin, running on a slate headed by Trumka and including John J. Banovic, who was elected Secretary-Treasurer. The Trumka - Roberts - Banovic team was reelected without opposition five years later.


In 1989, Roberts was the on-the-scene leader, often referred to as field general, and day-to-day negotiator in the UMWA’s militant 10-month strike against the Pittston Co., which had cut off health benefits to its retirees and was trying to walk away from its obligations to the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds. For his role in that successful strike, Roberts received the Rainbow Coalition’s Martin Luther King award as well as awards from Citizen Action and the Midwest Academy.


On November 10, 1992, Roberts was reelected by an 80-percent margin to his third term as Vice President.


In December, 1995, Roberts assumed the UMWA Presidency upon the resignation of Richard Trumka.


In 1996, he reopened the UMWA’s National Agreement for the first time in the union’s history and made significant improvements in the wage agreement.


In August 1997, Roberts was elected by acclamation to the Presidency of the UMWA.


In 1998, he negotiated a new National Agreement that was ratified by the highest percentage in the Union’s history. The agreement included an historic 20-year and out pension provision which has benefitted approximately 5,000 UMWA members to date.


In July of 2001 he became a member of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council. He serves on the Civil and Human Rights Committee; Labor and the Environment Committee; Manufacturing and Industrial Committee; Safety and Occupational Health Committee; Senior Action Committee Strategic Approaches Committee; Political Education Committee; and Article XX Appeals Committee. In October of 2005, he was appointed to the Executive Committee of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council.


In 2000 he was again elected by acclamation as President of the United Mine Workers of America, and in 2001 he negotiated a new National Agreement that provided a first ever 30-year and out pension provision regardless of age which has benefitted approximately 3,000 UMWA members to date.


In 2004 he became the first President in the history of the United Mine Workers of America to be elected by acclamation by the membership for three consecutive terms.


At the end of 2008, he became the 2nd longest standing President of the UMWA, second only to John L. Lewis.


In August 2009, Roberts was once again re-elected by acclamation to his fourth full term as International President.


He is on the board of the American Income Life Insurance Company.


Roberts graduated from West Virginia Technical College in 1987, and received an honorary Doctorate in Humanities from West Virginia University of Technology in 1997.


Roberts is married to the former Carolyn Stewart. They have a son, Kyle, a daughter, Melissa, two grandsons, Aaron and Brandon and two granddaughters, Savannah and Kathryn.


NCL to honor UMWA's Cecil E. Roberts with 2012 Trumpeter


Join NCL as we pay tribute to the working Americans all across this country fighting for social and economic justice. Your support will strengthen NCL’s work to build bridges between labor, sympathetic businesses, and consumer groups to defend workers’ interests.


For sponsorship information, please click here or contact Amy Sonderman at amys@nclnet.org (202) 207-2829.


Meet Cecil Edward Roberts


Cecil Roberts, a sixth-generation coal miner and one of the labor movement's most stirring and sought-after orators, became President of the United Mine Workers (UMWA) of America on October 22, 1995, having served as Vice President of the union since December 1982. Roberts succeeded Richard L. Trumka, who was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO.


Growing up in a UMWA household on Cabin Creek in Kanawha County, WV, Roberts heard the stories of his family, including a great-uncle, Bill Blizzard, who was a legendary organizer during the West Virginia mine wars of the 1920's and a UMWA District President under John L. Lewis. Both of his grandfathers were killed in the mines.


After military service in Vietnam and college, Roberts worked for six years at Carbon Fuels’ No. 31 mine in Winifred, West Virginia, where he served as a local union officer. In 1977 he was elected Vice President of UMWA District 17 by a 2-to-1 margin. In May 1981, he was reelected without opposition.


On November 9, 1982, Roberts was elected Vice President of the UMWA International Union, again by a 2-to-1 margin, running on a slate headed by Trumka and including John J. Banovic, who was elected Secretary-Treasurer. The Trumka - Roberts - Banovic team was reelected without opposition five years later.


In 1989, Roberts was the on-the-scene leader, often referred to as field general, and day-to-day negotiator in the UMWA’s militant 10-month strike against the Pittston Co., which had cut off health benefits to its retirees and was trying to walk away from its obligations to the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds. For his role in that successful strike, Roberts received the Rainbow Coalition’s Martin Luther King award as well as awards from Citizen Action and the Midwest Academy.


On November 10, 1992, Roberts was reelected by an 80-percent margin to his third term as Vice President.


In December, 1995, Roberts assumed the UMWA Presidency upon the resignation of Richard Trumka.


In 1996, he reopened the UMWA’s National Agreement for the first time in the union’s history and made significant improvements in the wage agreement.


In August 1997, Roberts was elected by acclamation to the Presidency of the UMWA.


In 1998, he negotiated a new National Agreement that was ratified by the highest percentage in the Union’s history. The agreement included an historic 20-year and out pension provision which has benefitted approximately 5,000 UMWA members to date.


In July of 2001 he became a member of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council. He serves on the Civil and Human Rights Committee; Labor and the Environment Committee; Manufacturing and Industrial Committee; Safety and Occupational Health Committee; Senior Action Committee Strategic Approaches Committee; Political Education Committee; and Article XX Appeals Committee. In October of 2005, he was appointed to the Executive Committee of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council.


In 2000 he was again elected by acclamation as President of the United Mine Workers of America, and in 2001 he negotiated a new National Agreement that provided a first ever 30-year and out pension provision regardless of age which has benefitted approximately 3,000 UMWA members to date.


In 2004 he became the first President in the history of the United Mine Workers of America to be elected by acclamation by the membership for three consecutive terms.


At the end of 2008, he became the 2nd longest standing President of the UMWA, second only to John L. Lewis.


In August 2009, Roberts was once again re-elected by acclamation to his fourth full term as International President.


He is on the board of the American Income Life Insurance Company.


Roberts graduated from West Virginia Technical College in 1987, and received an honorary Doctorate in Humanities from West Virginia University of Technology in 1997.


Roberts is married to the former Carolyn Stewart. They have a son, Kyle, a daughter, Melissa, two grandsons, Aaron and Brandon and two granddaughters, Savannah and Kathryn.


NCL to honor FCC Commissioner Clyburn with annual Trumpeter Award


Interested in supporting NCL and attending the 2013 Trumpeter Awards? There's still time to get involved! Learn more about sponsorship opportunities here.


A longtime champion of consumers and a defender of the public interest, Commissioner Clyburn considers every proceeding with an eye toward how it will affect each and every American. She is a strong advocate for enhanced accessibility in communications for citizens with disabilities and works closely with representative groups for the deaf and hard of hearing. Clyburn’s push for capping greatly inflated calling rates charged to incarcerated prisoners and their families resulted in a victory at the FCC, this summer.


Clyburn has fought to promote strong competition and ensure a robust marketplace of consumer choice. However, when the market is not adequately addressing consumer concerns, Clyburn is an outspoken champion for smart, targeted regulatory action. She has pushed for media ownership rules that reflect the demographics of America, affordable universal telephone and high-speed Internet access, greater broadband deployment and adoption throughout the nation, and transparency in regulation.


Commissioner Clyburn is a member of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, Federal-State Joint Board on Separations, and the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Services, all of which she chaired for three years during her first term at the FCC.


Clyburn began her service at the FCC in August 2009, after spending 11 years as a member of the sixth district on the Public Service Commission (PSC) of South Carolina. Prior to her service on the PSC, Clyburn was the publisher and general manager of The Coastal Times, a Charleston-based weekly newspaper that focused primarily on issues affecting the African American community. She co-owned and operated the family-founded newspaper for 14 years.


Clyburn is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Banking, Finance and Economics.


Leading consumer, worker advocates honored at 2011 Trumpeter Awards Dinner


Each year, the National Consumers League honors outstanding individuals whose hard work and dedication has resulted in improving the lives of consumers and workers throughout the country. For more than 30 years, the Trumpeter Award has recognized leaders who are not afraid to speak out for social justice and for the rights of consumers. (View a photo album of this year's awards celebration.)


“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. No one fits that description better than Dr. Peggy Hamburg and Randi Weingarten,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Their dedication to improving the quality of life for workers and consumers in the United States has earned them this year’s Trumpeter Award.”


Randi Weingarten delivered a fiery address; noting that that the country is at a “crossroads” and issuing an inspiring call to action that received a standing ovation from the dinner audience.


“I’m honored to accept this Trumpeter Award, but a Trumpet Award is about voice,” said Weingarten. “I am up here to ask you, regardless of which arena you work in, to fight for Americans, fight for voice, fight for economic opportunity, fight for educational opportunity! That is our collective goal; that is what we need to do over the next several months!”


FDA Commissioner Dr. Peggy Hamburg, who was recently named the “21st Most Powerful Woman in the World” by Forbes Magazine, spent the evening reflecting on the FDA’s long-standing partnership with NCL.


“It’s so extraordinary to look back at the shared history of the National Consumers League and the FDA,” said Hamburg. “For over a hundred years, you have advocated for improved drug and food safety laws, understanding—which many don’t appreciate today—that consumer protections can only be built on a foundation of smart and sound regulation.”


Dr. Hamburg also acknowledged NCL’s critical role in helping pass landmark FDA legislation, from the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act to the more recent Food Safety and Modernization Act, and saluted the FDA and NCL’s century of “shared history, vision, and commitment to the mission of protecting and promoting the health and safety of the American people.”


NCL also honored Paheadra Robinson, Director of Consumer Protection at the Mississippi Center for Justice, with the Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award, named for NCL’s early leader and awarded to grassroots consumer advocates. Robinson, a true community activist, has built a coalition aimed at abolishing predatory payday lending throughout the state of Mississippi and co-founded the Mississippi-based Fresh Start Foundation to provide direct financial aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina.


The dinner featured speaking appearances by Ann F. Lewis, President of the No Limits Foundation; Jennifer Donelan, reporter with ABC7 / WJLA-TV; and Martha Bergmark, Founding President and CEO at the Mississippi Center for Justice.


A night of impassioned speakers and honorees reminded the diverse audience of labor unions, advocates, and industries what a trumpet is all about. Not a quiet instrument, the trumpet is used to sound warnings, mark celebrations, and announce the presence of special people; the 2011 Trumpeter Awards did all three.


 


Meet NCL's 2012 intern class


2012 intern class on Capitol Hill


Kae Saelee, California State University, Fullerton located in Fullerton, CA, Senior/ Expected Graduation: December 2012, Major: Criminal Justice with minor in Sociology, Cal State DC Program


What’d you work on at NCL?


I worked closely with John Breyault on various consumer fraud issues. I reviewed a selection of major US radio stations for deceptive advertisements, conducted research on people who were hurt by unlicensed professionals and provided ideas to help with our proposal for a partnership with Facebook. I have helped write LifeSmarts questions to keep the program content current. For Sally, I logged on my experience with the DC Metro system. I have also worked collaboratively with other interns on improving our NCL page on various social media network Web sites.


Any highlights?


I enjoyed attending congressional hearings on the Hill. The most interesting thing I experienced was learning from everyone what they are working on. I was fascinated with the way each staff member was involved and took on unique responsibilities in their respective field. I definitely enjoyed working with the interns and above all, the staff! I always felt welcomed and was provided with great support.


What do you want to do in the future?


I plan on pursuing a career in federal law enforcement.


What was it like to live and work in Washington DC?


Moving to DC from California was definitely a culture shock. I love the politics, diversity of people and public transit. Celebrating 4th of July at our Nation’s Capitol was amazing, by far the best fireworks yet.


Steven Dorshkind, Wayne State University/ Detroit, MI, Junior/ 2014, Political Science/Pre-Medicine, The Semester in Washington Politics with The George Washington University


What made you interested in working at NCL?


When I saw that there was an opening in the child labor department, I felt that it was an excellent way to spend my summer. I have a passion for helping people, and children especially; I felt it was the perfect internship.


Any highlights?


I truly loved going to the conferences and meetings be it at the Hill or in some different office. I was always happy being in meetings that directly affect the future of our nation and the welfare of the citizens.


What do you want to do in the future?


I’d love to run for office in the federal government. I want to get both my MD and my PhD and be able to save people both on the operating table and in my policies.


What was it like to live and work in Washington DC?


Truthfully, it was one of the most fulfilling and memorable experiences in my life. I have never felt so strongly about my future and I feel like D.C. is truly a place for me to be in the future and I’d love to come back and keep on fighting for causes I support. This experience has forever changed my perspective on life and the way I live, I’m completely thankful for all the opportunities I received out here.


Christiana Oatman, University of the Pacific—Stockton, CA, Rising senior, class of 2013, Major: History, minor in gender studies, The Fund for American Studies (Institute of Political Journalism)


What made you interested in working at NCL?
The organization has a strong history in association with the progressive movements of the early 20th century. I am passionate about social justice issues, and thought NCL would provide me with the opportunity to fight for people’s rights.


The communications aspect of my internship sounded interesting as well.


What did you work on?


I worked in Communications. During my time at NCL, I also worked on fraud alerts. I updated the Twitter and Facebook feeds, and made suggestions on how to improve our social networking sites. I wrote multiple blog posts and articles for the NCL Web site. I did a “news roundup” every morning.


Any highlights?


A highlight was following Sally to the table saw testimony and to the ABC news interview.


What will the future hold?


I am excited to bring my knowledge about consumer rights and issues back with me to Stockton, CA. I am going to graduate in the spring, and I will definitely use what I learned here in order to help me find a job that I am interested in. I would definitely be interested in working somewhere that fights for the interests of the many, not the few.


Brianne Pitts, University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA, Rising Senior & May 2013, Honors Interdisciplinary major Political & Social Thought, The Fund for American Studies


What made you interested in working at NCL?


The biggest thing that made me interested in working there was that NCL deals with wage theft, which is very related /similar to the Living Wage Campaign I was involved in at UVA. Because the work was so similar and close to my interests, I wanted to work there right away.


Any highlights?


Highlights would be getting published, going to all those hearings and meetings, meeting important people in the labor and employment community and being in DC upon the passing of constitutionality of the individual mandate of the ACA. I will be coming back to the Living Wage Campaign at my school with a much wider knowledge base and breadth of information and multiple new connections from NCL that I m certain that we will get a living wage for UVA workers this year.


What do you want to do after college?


My long-term career goal was to be a Business Attorney but now from my experiences this summer I want to be a Civil Right Attorney or an International Human Rights Attorney.


Lili Gecker, Brandeis University; Waltham, MA, Class of 2013, Major: Sociology, minors in theatre and art history, Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice World of Work (WOW) Fellowship


What made you interested in working at NCL?


I was excited to work at NCL this summer because it was a great opportunity to be in DC and learn about public policy on a federal level. In addition, NCL’s mission statement is a no-brainer for me. Our country is made up of consumers and workers, and we need advocacy groups like NCL to defend their rights and to demand that the government do the same.


What did you work on?


As a public policy intern, I worked on research topics ranging from cell phone cramming, to ticketing issues, to radio fraud. In addition, I had the opportunity to dip my toes into other policy arenas that NCL covers, including public health, food safety, and fair labor standards.


One of the highlights for me this summer was contributing to NCL’s blog. It allowed me the opportunity to work on my research and writing skills, and to express my opinions on topics about which I am most passionate.


What’s in store for you?


I would love to continue working on public policy, advocacy, or organizing. I think I would like a job in the non-profit sector, or maybe a progressive think tank.


What was it like to live and work in Washington DC?


It was a great opportunity to live and work in DC, especially since I am considering returning here after graduation. Highlights included free museums, delicious FrozenYo, and constant political drama.


Katja Meijaard, Amsterdam University College, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 3rd year (senior), graduation in January 2013, Social Sciences. The internship is affiliated with the ICPES program of the Fund For American Studies


What made you interested in working at NCL?


Being from one of the most liberal countries in the world, aiming for equal rights and opportunities is a natural thing. NCL advocates for many things I believe in, such as preventing wage theft and informing consumers about their rights and responsibilities. Additionally, I have always been broadly interested and feel that you should get a great overview of how things are related to each other. NCL covers so many different issues, recognizes their importance and their overlaps. I felt that this focus really appealed to me.



This will always be the summer when the Supreme Court upheld the Health Care Bill, while I was interning at an organization that has been advocating for universal health care! The Court’s ruling took over the whole city and it was so interesting to see how people responded in practice, instead of reading about it.


What was it like to live and work in Washington, DC?


It has been an incredible experience to live and work in the Nation’s capital. The first thing I noticed is how busy the city is and how much energy and devotion people show in their daily routines. Although I was kind of intimidated in the beginning, this work ethic is very contagious. It has been inspiring to see people being passionate about what is going on in the world and wanting to advocate for change. On the other hand, I feel that DC, being the political centre of the world has created a very comfortable environment for the locals. The city is very clean, regardless of the few mice near the student dorms, and most things seem very well organised.


Overall, living in DC and interning for NCL has greatly contributed to my life experience. I got to experience real world politics, got to know inspiring and devoted people and have been part of a great organisation that has only confirmed by ambitions to go into management. I want to thank all of the staff members of NCL for each individually contributing to my DC experience and I really hope at some point our paths will cross again!


Meet NCL's 2011 intern class


 


Meet NCL's summer 2011 interns


This summer, NCL was joined by four hard-working student interns from across the country. They rolled up their sleeves and got to work, conducting policy research, writing posts for our Savvy Consumer blog, creating tough new LifeSmarts questions, and doing some investigation regarding unit pricing at local DC-area drug stores and supermarkets. Meet the guys.


Meet Ben JudgeBen Judge, The Fund for American Studies program, University of North Carolina- Asheville, Class of 2014, Political Science with a minor in Economics


Long-term career goal: Consulting focused on risk-management, or economic or policy analysis, or as a staffer for a Congressional Committee, as a lobbyist, or as a fellow at a think tank—or as Ambassador to the Marshall Islands.


What brought you to NCL?


I have always liked the work that consumer groups do, and I wanted to make a difference in the lives of consumers. Doing Student Government Association, I have done advocacy work before, and this is another channel for me to voice the concerns of those who cannot articulate concerns for themselves.


What kept you busy at NCL this summer?


I have worked on various research projects with most of the staff. I drafted a memo on the consumer benefits of improved infrastructure in the United States, also I have helped in writing a letter to a representative endorsing our support for a particular bill on 4G. I researched court cases against the new health care-reform and wrote various blog posts from everything from sunscreen regulation to raising the minimum wage. For Sally I have worked with the other interns on research and suggestions for supermarkets on their unit pricing systems. I created a database of all the missing children and teenagers in Jamaica for the past year. For fundraising, I have been a part of filling out databases regarding donors and information about grants.


An internship highlight


Going to hearings on the hill and interacting with consumer advocates.


On the horizon for Ben


I will be working on my university’s curriculum as the new Academic Affairs Chair in Student Government. Also I will be helping my school with drafting its Campus Master Plan.


What was it like to live and work in Washington, DC?


It’s been an experience that I will truly never forget. Although I have been working harder then I have in my life it has been so worth it. There is something about going to work during the week and doing work that makes a difference, then on the weekends being able to go to the museums and the attractions that this wonderful city has. It makes me want to come back as often as I can and really work on the Hill as career.


 



Meet Larry RoseLarry Rose, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Class of 2012, Political Science


Long-term career goal: I’m thinking of becoming a lawyer, but not one that protects the pockets of people who already have more than they need.


What made you interested in working at NCL?


I have always been interested in the consumer and labor rights movements. The current political and economic climate has made politicians prioritize the so-called “needs” of corporations over the needs of people. The people need an advocate and I am proud to be one.


What kept you busy at NCL this summer?


I worked on updating our data on check fraud and did some research on the AT&T T-Mobile merger. I also went to some congressional hearings. I wrote several LifeSmarts questions, updated some databases, worked on the Child Labor Coalition’s YouTube channel, and researched whether the Department of Labor’s statistics for minimum wages in the states were up to date.


An internship highlight


I really enjoyed attending congressional hearings. While I still feel that I could do a better job running this country than 99 percent of Congress, it is very interesting to see just how our government works.


On the horizon for Larry


This fall, I am taking 3 300 level classes and a 400 level seminar. This is one of the most difficult course loads available to a student at St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s 400 level classes are all seminars and you are only expected to take one or two of them during your time as a student. To compensate for this, our 300 level courses are far more difficult and require far more work than those at other colleges.


What was it like to live and work in Washington, DC?


Working in DC was very interesting. You always hear people complaining how it is an ugly and corrupt city compared to New York City, but many of the people here are pretty cool and there are places that look completely amazing.


 


Meet Alex SchneiderAlex Schneider, Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice at Brandeis, Brandeis University, Class of 2012, Politics, Economics


Long-term career goal: Law and public policy work


What made you interested in working at NCL?


I have always considered myself a consumer advocate, although not necessarily in a formal sense. As Editor-in-Chief of The Brandeis Hoot student newspaper, I often write weekly editorials advocating for greater oversight over student funds. When a vote was put to students to introduce a new fee to provide constant funds for a student group beyond their funding from current tuition, I researched and eventually opposed the idea, sparking discussion in the pages of our newspaper. I have also written to spotlight inconsistencies in the services provided for student housing and to oppose on-campus ATM fees. Working at the NCL has formalized this advocacy.


What kept you busy at NCL this summer?


Over the summer, I have worked closely with John Breyault on various policy issues, including advocating against the illegal placement of erroneous charges on phone bills, or cramming, and against the masking of caller ID phone numbers, or spoofing, with the intent to defraud. I have also worked collaboratively with the other interns on improving the transparency of unit pricing in supermarkets.


An internship highlight


I have enjoyed delving into topics I had never considered, including while working on projects for the Child Labor Coalition and for the NCL's special project on wage theft.


On the horizon for Alex:


As my senior year begins, I look forward to, first and foremost, no longer being bound to a meal plan, but also to working on a senior politics thesis, continued work on the campus newspaper, and taking a class with our new President, Frederick Lawrence.


What was it like to live and work in Washington, DC?


July 4 in our nation’s capitol was certainly the highlight of living in DC, including the early morning reading of the Declaration of Independence, the display of patriotism at the annual parade, and the fireworks display with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture playing at the Capitol. And compared with the average temperature of 40 degrees that I’ve experienced both at home in Boston and while abroad in Edinburgh since my summer in Washington, DC last year, it is certainly refreshing to live where there’s real heat.




Meet Michael FinchMichael Finch, Roosevelt Campus Network Summer Academy, Middle Tennessee State University, Class of 2012, Political Science with a concentration in Public Administration


Long-term career goal: Legislative assistant for a member of Congress or a committee handling civil rights/civil liberties issues, or work in a similar capacity at an organization off the Hill


What made you interested in working at NCL?


I was interested in working for NCL upon finding out the wide range of issues they cover. I do a lot of fighting for civil rights/civil liberties and consumer and worker rights definitely tie into that category. Making sure that consumers are informed and protected is a basic, but incredibly important, step toward mitigating a wide variety of social justice issues.


What kept you busy at NCL this summer?


I worked on many different issues, which was one of the best parts of the internship. I worked on updating LifeSmarts questions, which helped me learn quite a bit about a huge variety of topics. Like the other interns, I worked on the unit pricing project for Sally, as well as another project for her regarding payment protection plans for credit cards. I also worked on a case of art fraud for John, where a consumer contacted us directly because he’d been scammed out of nearly $30,000. I also helped Michell with some small wage theft projects. I also wrote two blogs, about the payment protection plans, and tort reform.


An internship highlight


The most interesting and enlightening thing I experienced was searching YouTube for personal wage theft stories. I found one video in particular that showed a kind of wage theft that I had never even thought about before, that really drove home the lack of respect some companies have for their workers, and made the issue of wage theft much more real and much more pressing to me.


On the horizon for Michael


I’ll definitely be bringing my newfound consumer advocacy knowledge back to my campus, and the town I live in. I’m a little worried that I’ll be the scourge of whatever employer I end up getting, because I’ll keep them honest regarding wage theft and food safety issues.



What was it like to live and work in Washington, DC?


I was in DC for a congressional internship in 2009, and both times I’ve been here, I’ve loved it. I love the various communities, the diversity, the history of the area, the readily-accessible public transit, the political environment and opportunities…I’ve known since I came here in 2009 that I wanted to live here long-term.


NCL to honor Hamburg, Weingarten with Trumpeter Award


This week in Washington, DC, the National Consumers League will honor Federal Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg, and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, with its highest honor, the Trumpeter Award. The Thursday, October 6 event will bring together a diverse group of representatives from labor unions, consumer advocates, government, and industry.


“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. No one fits that description better than and Dr. Peggy Hamburg and Randi Weingarten,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Their dedication to improving the quality of life for workers and consumers in the United States has earned them this year’s Trumpeter Award.”


NCL will also be honoring Paheadra Robinson, Director of Consumer Protection at the Mississippi Center for Justice, with the Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award, named for NCL’s early leader and awarded to grassroots consumer advocates.


The event will feature a reception, dinner, and speaking appearances by the three honorees, as well as:




  • Ann F. Lewis, President, No Limits Foundation


  • Jennifer Donelan, Reporter, ABC7 / WJLA-TV


  • Martha Bergmark, Founding President and CEO, Mississippi Center for Justice


  • Neal Gregory, Patient Advocate, Mended Hearts

Event info


What: National Consumers League’s 2011 Trumpeter Awards Dinner


When: Thursday, October 6, 2010 | 6 p.m. Reception | 7 p.m. Dinner and Presentation of Awards


Where: Capital Hilton, 1001 16th Street NW, Washington, DC


Questions or to RSVP: Larry Bostian, National Consumers League 202-835-3323


For more information about sponsorship options or to RSVP, please contact NCL's Vice President of Development, Larry Bostian at (202) 835-3323 or larryb@nclnet.org.


2010 Trumpeter Award recipients announced


 


The National Consumers League is pleased to announce that Surgeon General Vice Admiral Regina Benjamin, M.D., and "Compensation Czar" Kenneth Feinberg will receive this year's Trumpeter Awards on Thursday, October 7 at 6:00 p.m. at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. Please join us as we honor these two distinguished advocates for their commitment to serving consumers nationwide. NCL will also honor Consumer Federation of America's Jean Ann Fox, a lifelong consumer champion, with our Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award.


Support the Trumpeter Awards Dinner


NCL offers several giving levels, as well as individual tickets, for the Trumpeter Awards Dinner, which helps support NCL's advocacy and education efforts year-round. To learn more about the benefits of each category, contact NCL's Larry Bostian at (202) 207-2826.




  • Underwriter - $25,000

  • Consumers Circle - $15,000

  • Benefactor - $7,500

  • Patron - $5,000

  • Sponsor - $2,500

  • Friend - $1,500

  • Individual - $200

About the honorees


Kenneth Feinberg has been described as “America's Solomon,” serving multiple Presidents and Congresses in taking on the very difficult task of distributing compensation funds to those who've lost loved ones or their livelihood. In trying times, from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to the tragic Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, where he administered the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund for victims’ families, Feinberg has unfailingly gained the trust of the beneficiaries he has been called upon to serve. He has consistently demonstrated concern, patience, and a willingness to listen and learn from victims. Feinberg currently serves as the Special Master for TARP Executive Compensation and as administrator of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Unit.


As “America’s Doctor,” Vice Admiral Regina Benjamin, M.D., is the 18th Surgeon General of the United States, charged with the task of providing the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health. Benjamin oversees the operational command of 6,500 uniformed health officers who serve around the world to promote, protect and advance the health of the American people. Prior to becoming the surgeon general, Benjaminfounded and served as CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Alabama. She served as former associate dean for rural health at the University of South Alabama’s College of Medicine and immediate past chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. Dr. Benjamin received the 1998 Nelson Mandela Award from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation for her work in the United States and abroad.


For additional information, or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, please contact NCL's Larry Bostian at (202) 207-2826 or larryb@nclnet.org.