We are proud to share the impact of WEC’s work in 2020. We did this work together with our members which includes, labor, community organizations, environmental organizations, and individuals. Faced with a public health crisis, WEC went to work to educate and advocate for COVID protections for workers and our communities. The COVID crisis made it clear that worker health is public health. Even amid a pandemic, together with you, we made significant progress in our other areas of work from labor friendly climate policy to public need and healthy schools.
Across the nation, more than 150 chemical incidents occur annually that endanger workers and communities. By law, effective March 15, 2021, 78 facilities in New Jersey that use extremely hazardous substances are required to hold a public meeting within 90 days of any incident that results in offsite deaths, injuries, evacuations, sheltering in place, property damage, or environmental damage. This national U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule covers facilities that use specified extremely hazardous substances in certain quantities, including many chemical plants, oil refineries, food processing operations, etc. This provision is part of the Risk Management Program (RMP) revised rule issued by EPA in 2017. President Trump withdrew most of the rule in 2019, but retained much of the public meeting requirement. The rule states: § 68.210 Availability of information to the public. (b) Public meetings. The owner or operator of a stationary source shall hold a public meeting to provide information required under § 68.42(b), no later than 90 days after any RMP reportable accident at the stationary source with any known offsite impact specified in § 68.42(a). Read WEC's factsheet on the EPA RMP rule and learn how community members can take action.
Press Release For Immediate Release: March 15, 2021 Contact: Debra Coyle McFadden Cell: 609/707-1320 Email: email@example.com As of Today, Chemical Facilities Must Hold Public Meetings WEC applauds this new public meeting requirement and again urges the State to follow EPCRA public access requirements By law, effective March 15, 2021, many chemical facilities are required to hold a public meeting within 90 days of any incident that results in offsite deaths, injuries, evacuations, sheltering in place, property damage, or environmental damage. This U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule covers about 12,000 facilities across the nation that use specified extremely hazardous substances in certain quantities, including many oil refineries, chemical plants, paper mills, food processing operations, and water and sewage treatment plants, ect. This provision is part of the Risk Management Program (RMP) revised rule issued by EPA in 2017. President Trump withdrew most of the rule in 2019, but retained much of the public meeting requirement. “This is an opportunity for community members to ask facility managers about safety measures they are taking to safeguard the community after an offsite incident has occurred.” said Debra Coyle McFadden, Executive Director of NJ Work Environment Council. “For example, is management looking at safer chemical substitutions? Are they considering reducing storage quantities [...]
The New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) is a coalition of 70 labor, community, and environmental organizations advocating for safe, secure jobs and a healthy, sustainable environment. WEC is an affiliate of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. WEC works in multiple issue areas that are at the intersection of the labor and environmental movement. WEC is the nation’s longest standing state labor/environmental coalition and is an affiliate of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. Description WEC seeks a full-time bi-lingual occupational health & safety (level 1) trainer to conduct health and safety trainings, with an emphasis on COVID prevention and awareness for workers. Audience includes workers, hard to reach workers, unions, employers, and community organizations. This position will help WEC provide worker-oriented training, building the regional health and safety movement and developing working relationships with labor, environmental and community organizations. In addition, this position will also help WEC advocate for stronger workplace protections. The breakdown between training and advocacy is approximately 70% training and 30% advocacy. This is a 12-month term position. The position will start as virtual and when deemed appropriate, it will move to in-person. The WEC office is located in Trenton. The [...]
Governor Murphy Announces new Office on Climate Action & the Green Economy Statement from Debra Coyle McFadden, Executive Director, NJ Work Environment Council Today, February 16, 2021, Governor Murphy signed a Executive Order 221 to create a new climate office with the goal to advance economic opportunities in an equitable manner in the new green economy. This includes the transition to clean renewable energy. The Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy will also oversee a newly created Council on the Green Economy that will advise on workforce development for tomorrow’s green economy jobs. Emphasis was placed on ensuring inclusion for BIPOC and low-income communities and good jobs. Governor Murphy also announced investments of approximately $100 million from the Regional Green House Gas Initiative and Volkswagen settlement dollars, which will be invested in the transportation sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a major emphasis on electrification and prioritizing environmental justice communities. Debra Coyle McFadden made the following statement: This is a big day for the environment and workers here in New Jersey. Since June 2020, WEC and our partners in Jersey Renews, have been advocating for a Just Green Recovery to help rebuild the economy from the devastating impacts caused by COVID-19 which led to [...]
Press Release For Immediate Release: February 3, 2021 Contact: Debra Coyle McFadden Cell: 609/707-1320 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org WEC, National COSH, and 100+ Worker Groups Release 2021 “Agenda for Worker Safety and Health” OSHA a catastrophic failure during pandemic -- agenda outlines how Biden-Harris Administration can protect workers and rebuild our economy As we hit the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 entering the United States, frontline and essential workers across the country continue to grapple with deadly conditions at their jobs. To save lives and get us back to work safely, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), NJ Work Environment Council (WEC), along with 100+ other organizations today released an eight-point “National Agenda for Worker Safety and Health”. “Workers are sick, broke and dying -- because so far during this pandemic, employers, OSHA and our federal government have failed to protect workers from the risk of infectious disease,” said Jessica Martinez, National COSH’s co-executive director. Endorsed by more than 100 worker and community-based organizations including United Steelworker District 4 and Health Professionals and Allied Employees, the National Agenda is a bold, transformational vision for the future of worker health and safety in the U.S. The agenda brings together ideas, based on real experience in our workplaces, to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and other longstanding workplace [...]
For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 9, 2020 Contact: Debra Coyle McFadden, Director, NJ Work Environment Council, 609-707-1320, email@example.com Claire Barnett, Executive Director, Healthy Schools Network, 202-543-7555 ADVOCATES RELEASE PLAN TO REOPEN SCHOOLS PANDEMIC V. SCHOOLS: A NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION School Buildings and Occupants Can Speed or Slow the Spread of COVID-19 As pressure mounts for schools to reopen this fall, awareness is growing of the need for specific plans on how schools will not just open, but stay open, by protecting the health of children and their families, teachers, administrators and school staff. By their nature, schools are an environment conducive to the spread of illnesses, including COVID-19. They are densely occupied for long periods and have a well-documented history of deferred maintenance which has resulted in well-known problems with ventilation and indoor air and plumbing, and challenges in cleaning. The virus is not going away. Moreover, the poorest communities hardest hit by COVID-19 also send their children to the poorest schools in the worst condition, making this a supremely challenging health and education equity and rights problem with no quick solution. Today the NJ Work Environment Council (WEC) and the national Coalition for Healthier Schools co-released a National Call to Action for state health agencies to provide [...]
Reality check: No one is safe from the ravages of COVID 19. After all, nurses, warehouse workers and celebrities like Tom Hanks alike are getting sick. Actually, if you work for low pay, are a person of color, or live in a crowded urban area, you’re more likely to get sick and less likely to be able to get the treatment you need. It’s no coincidence these people are the most vulnerable. The air is worse to begin with in struggling communities, causing pre-existing conditions that heighten susceptibility to the virus. No, this isn’t a “we’re all in this together moment.” Unfortunately, the coronavirus exposes our unpreparedness for a health disaster, and longstanding fault lines between the haves and have nots. Read the full opinion-editorial from the Satr-Ledger by Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director, WEC.
Here in New Jersey, warehouse workers have been classified by the state as essential workers. It’s not hard to understand why. As COVID-19 spreads, these workers are the ones ensuring that food, cleaning products, medicine, and other vital goods are distributed to millions of people. But while the state government rightly considers warehouse workers essential, their employers treat them as disposable. That’s wrong and unacceptable, especially during this pandemic. Too many New Jersey residents employed in warehouses are still not given the protection and respect they deserve. According to news reports and first-hand accounts, COVID-19 is spreading quickly in New Jersey warehouses, because owners and operators of these facilities are not implementing rigorous cleaning measures, health and safety protocols, and other measures. Read the full opinion-editorial in the Star-Ledger by Alberto Arroyo is co-manager of the Laundry, Distribution and Food Service Joint Board (LDFS Union), Workers United, SEIU and Debra Coyle McFadden is executive director of WEC.
Download a pdf of this announcement here. The Work Environment Council of New Jersey, Inc. (WEC) is a coalition of 70 labor, community, and environmental organizations advocating for safe, secure jobs and a healthy, sustainable environment. WEC seeks a full-time, experienced Campaign Organizer for the Jersey Renews effort based in our Trenton office. The position begins ASAP and no later than April 1 and is a 12-month full-time position with the option to renew if funding is secured. The person hired will organize and expand Jersey Renews’ dynamic, statewide grassroots advocacy and organizing efforts. The campaign focuses on making New Jersey a leader on state-based climate policy, including emissions reductions, increased clean energy production the creation of family-sustaining jobs, and reduced air pollution. The campaign organizer will work to build and maintain a broad-based, multi-sector alliance which includes partners in the climate/environmental, labor, community-based, faith, and other sectors and coordinate events, including meetings for the steering committee, the larger coalition, opinion leaders, legislative stakeholders, the media and others. Responsibilities The Campaign Organizer will be responsible for: Partner Recruitment and Outreach Maintain and expand diverse coalition of key organizations in strategic sectors, through in-person and telephone contact, participatory campaign planning meetings, [...]