This week’s webinar focused on Executive Order (EO) 192 which Governor Murphy signed on October 28 and went into effect on November 5. The EO, one of the strongest in the country, mandates a series of COVID-19 protections for workers in both public and private sector employment settings. There were more than 97 people who attended this webinar.
This week we were joined by:
Lou Kimmel, Executive Director of New Labor who spoke to the success of EO 192 after a six-month campaign by the Protect NJ Workers Coalition. The EO expands worker protections by requiring employers to establish social distancing protocols, provide masks and hand sanitizer at no cost to employees, develop a notification system for any known COVID workplace exposure, routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in accordance with CDC and DOH guidelines, conduct health checks, and send home sick employees in compliance with applicable leave laws.
A worker who still finds themselves in a situation where their employer is not following the EO and whose health and safety is at risk can file an EO Violation with the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL and the Department of Health (DOH) will review the complaint, and if necessary, the business can be shut down if the issues are not remedied. In the first week, there have been 378 complaints filed. (see links below for PEOSH public sector complaint form)
Lou also shared that the successful implementation of this EO was the result of a series of actions including petitions, campaigns, direct actions, and other efforts to maintain pressure on state officials by workers. The Coalition to Protect NJ Workers is now working on a legislative effort to pass Bill A4268, a Right to Refuse Unsafe Working Conditions.
We were also joined by Elena Lavarreda, NJ Political Director of 32BJ who spoke to the empowerment this EO has given their members. 32BJ is notifying all of the employers it works with about the requirements of the order, as well as educating its 6,000 members. “Grievance reps can help file complaints, support members and help provide education to other members,” said Lavarreda. 32BJ is also working on passing S2453/A4209 to secure COVID paid sick days.
WEC Executive Director, Debra Coyle McFadden, joined us to discuss COVID training opportunities provided under the EO.
Training topics include:
- What is COVID-19 – will introduce the basics regarding the virus, where it came from, how it is transmitted, and what can happen if you are exposed
- Reducing the Risks of Exposure at Work and in our Communities – will inform participants on how to assess the risks in specific industries and occupations
- Problem-Solving for COVID 19 – will provide participants with opportunities to think about their specific COVID-19 workplace problems and how they will go about the process of solving them with their employers
In addition to Rutgers OTEC and WEC, there are several other organizations within the Protect NJ Workers Coalition conducting training. The training is free and participants will receive a $15 an hour stipend. WEC is conducting a COVID training on Monday, November 23 from 1:30 to 3:30, seating is limited. Register here. Please share this with your network. If you are interested in setting up a training, please contact Debra at email@example.com.
Links From the Chat:
DOL Worker Complaint Form private Sector: https://lwdwebpt.dol.state.nj.
Worker Complaint form public sector: https://www.nj.gov/labor/
COVID Training Sign Up: https://njsafe.squarespace.
LEARN/WEC Union Leadership Academy (Tuesday Evenings @5:30, March 30- May 4): https://smlr.rutgers.edu/
Please join us on December 1 for Covid-19 week 38: Tackling Covid-19 through Training and Health and Safety Committees.