First accolades, then a warning
“CU has achieved a lot in recent years both in increased impact for consumers and in becoming a stronger organization internally. It’s the result of a team of committed staff members working together for a common mission ‘to work for a fair, just and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves.’ Your personal efforts and accomplishments in the Tech-Appliance Department have made an apparent contribution to this success, and it’s much appreciated.”
This was part of a letter written by Consumers Union President Jim Guest to Consumer Reports Program Leader Ed Miller on May 29, 2010.
Miller went to work at Consumers Union on May 29, 1950, having been hired by Arthur Kellet, one of the founders of the organization. Miller was a graduate student at Brooklyn Polytech and Kellet went to the school seeking talent. Miller turned down an offer from Dupont to go to work for Kallet at $100 a week, a tidy sum in 1950.
Consumers Union was located in Union Square at the time and Miller walked a picket line with Bill South, a Local Representative with the Newspaper Guild of New York and father of the recently deceased former CU unit chair of the same name, for six weeks seeking union recognition for the employees at CU. “From then on, the Guild was the union,” Miller noted recently.
Miller’s tenure at Consumer Reports has been well acclaimed. A laboratory has been dedicated to him; the one where he tested laundry detergents.
“I’ve tested every chemical product this company ever reported on,” Miller pointed out with pride.
In 2004, Miller underwent a heart operation at Beth Israel Hospital and was out of work for six months. On the day he returned, his supervisor at the time, Geoff Martin, met him near his home at the corner of 23rd Street and 7th Avenue and they rode the subway together to 42nd Street. There was a car waiting for them at that stop to drive them to Executive Boulevard in Yonkers. They were greeted by employees applauding at the front doorway. Miller was escorted to his new office, the one closest to the cafeteria.
In 2010, CR celebrated Miller’s 60th anniversary on the job with a reception in the cafeteria. It was in connection with that occasion that Guest wrote to Miller. He went on to write:
“So thanks for all you’ve done, and continue to do, for CU and the consumers we serve. It’s great to have you part of this important institution that’s benefiting individual consumers and the public generally in so many ways.”
That was on May 29, 2010.
On September 19, 2011, CR management made Miller another presentation. They presented him with a final warning saying if he didn’t demonstrate “immediate, significant and sustained improvement” he would be fired.
“So thanks for all you’ve done, and continue to do, for CU and the consumers we serve.”