National Consumers League

From the Experts Blog

NCL staff is hard at work for you playing watchdog on a variety of issues. Get to know the latest From the Experts!

Banks too expensive for many low-income Americans

Consumer advocates often lament the number of consumers who are “unbanked.” It’s true that having a bank account is a sign of stability and that having your money attached to a checking account and ATM card can help build credit and promote long term saving. But it appears that banking fees have driven millions of low income customers away; 25 million Americans are unbanked. Another 63 million are under-banked, which means they may have bank accounts but rely on some alternative financial services. These include check cashers, payday lenders, prepaid cards, and lending and saving circles instead of banks. 

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The hostile work environment for pregnant workers

Can a worker be fired for being pregnant? 

This question is still being asked today in workplaces across the country and soon in the Supreme Court. The answer is not as straightforward as it should be. In 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) was signed into law and it amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to prohibit sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. Meaning a worker cannot be fired for being pregnant.

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Life Lesson 5: How I Learned to #TurnOutForWhat

Seth WoodsOne of the reasons I love LifeSmarts is that we teach teens life lessons the easy way (rather than the hard way). We take that seriously, that’s why our motto is “Learn it. Live it.”

This time, I don’t have a “life lesson” per se, but rather an imposition:

Go vote. And if you’re not yet 18, make sure your friends who can vote do so.

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Fast food workers and the international double standard

Did you know that Burger King pays its Copenhagen employees $20 an hour? That’s the BASE wage for fast food workers throughout Denmark and 2 ½ times what many fast food workers earn in the US. The spokesman for the International Franchise Association, Steve Caldeira,  that represents big businesses that have many franchises, gave a fairly pathetic defense in the New York Times (Fast Food in Denmark Offers Living Wages U.S. Workers Long For”) of why American companies  can’t pay these wages in the US. 

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Where’s enforcement of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act ?

Early in my career, I worked as a staffer in the House of Representatives. During my time there, the Supreme Court ruled in Gilbert vs. General Electric and handed down a decision that was so absurd and insulting to women that Congress swiftly passed a bill to overturn the decision. The Court said in Gilbert that pregnant women didn’t have the right to be treated similarly to people with disabilities i.e., not forcing them to lift heavy objects or stand for hours. They rules that this was not sex discrimination but discrimination against pregnant people, and that’s not sex discrimination. Uh huh. Right. 

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