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The New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) is an alliance of labor, community, and environmental organizations working together for safe, secure jobs, and a healthy, sustainable environment.

NJ solidifies role as hub of offshore wind energy with latest BPU awards

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on Wednesday awarded a combined 2,658 megawatts of offshore wind capacity to EDF/Shell’s Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind and Ørsted’s Ocean Wind II. The awards bring the state’s total planned capacity to more than 3,700 MW — or approximately half of Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal of 7,500 MW of offshore wind by 2035. Here’s what those numbers really mean: The energy produced by these two awards will supply power to 1.1 million homes in the state — in addition to the 500,000 homes that will be energized by the first award. Read more: https://www.roi-nj.com/2021/06/30/industry/energy-utilities/n-j-solidifies-role-as-hub-of-offshore-wind-energy-with-latest-bpu-awards/

By |2021-07-08T15:56:08-04:00June 30th, 2021|WEC in the News|Comments Off on NJ solidifies role as hub of offshore wind energy with latest BPU awards

Press Statement: Jersey Renews Thanks Sen. Loretta Weinberg for Supporting Full Transit Funding & An End to Clean Energy Fund Raids

Sen. Loretta Weinberg issued the below statement in support of full funding for New Jersey Transit and an end to Clean Energy Fund raids. (The full statement can also be viewed here.) The full FY22 state budget must be finalized and approved by the end of this month. Senate Majority Leader’s Weinberg’s statement reads: “NJ Transit has been a perennial budget issue thanks to the degradation of service suffered during the Christie Administration. Adequate funding is necessary to maintain service and to make much-needed capital improvements. “I am concerned, though, that the Governor’s proposed budget includes a $273 million reduction in the state’s subsidy to NJ Transit, while leaving in place longstanding transfers from the Clean Energy Fund and NJ Transit’s capital budget. Read the full press release here.

By |2021-06-03T08:07:39-04:00June 2nd, 2021|Highlights, Press Releases, WEC in the News|Comments Off on Press Statement: Jersey Renews Thanks Sen. Loretta Weinberg for Supporting Full Transit Funding & An End to Clean Energy Fund Raids

May 17: COVID-19 Update: Vaccines and the NJ Vaccine Distribution Program

Over 8 million shots have been administered in NJ with approximately 3.5 million people having received the two doses needed to provide maximum protection. Eligibility has recently been expanded to include everyone above the age of 16, and the Pfizer vaccine is now approved to be administered to children aged 12-15.  Supply has vastly improved as demand for the vaccine has diminished. The state has further ramped up its outreach efforts in order to reach the goal to vaccinate 4.7 million adults.    We were joined by Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, MD, NJDOH Medical Advisor, Professional Advisory Committee Chair, and public health physician with board certification in internal, pulmonary and preventive (occupational/environmental) medicine. Dr. Bresnitz is former NJ State Epidemiologist and Deputy Commissioner of Health. Dr. Bresnitz spoke to the latest CDC recommendations and provided information for the Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen vaccines. Dr. David J. Adinaro, MD, M.Eng., FACEP, joined the New Jersey Department of Health as Deputy Commissioner for Public Health Services in June 2020. He also chairs the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force that is coordinating the planning for this state-wide effort. Dr. Adinaro looked back at NJ’s initial goals in addressing the pandemic and gave updates on where we are [...]

By |2021-05-19T12:18:00-04:00May 18th, 2021|Covid-19, Covid-19 Webinars|Comments Off on May 17: COVID-19 Update: Vaccines and the NJ Vaccine Distribution Program

It’s Time to Cancel Student Loan Debt for Millions of Americans

We know that student debt impacts our current members, our future members and our students.  We also know that student debt disproportionately affects people of color, adding it to the long list of social justice issues that must be addressed.  That’s why the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) is taking action. NJEA, with partners from the Work Environment Council (WEC), New Jersey Communities United (NJCU), New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA), NJ Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), and NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) have formed the “New Jersey Student Loan Debt Alliance” which seeks to tackle the issue of student debt and college affordability. Read the whole opinion article here.

By |2021-06-03T08:11:37-04:00May 17th, 2021|Highlights, Opinion Pieces, WEC in the News|Comments Off on It’s Time to Cancel Student Loan Debt for Millions of Americans

April 27: Workers Memorial Day – The toll of Covid-19

This week, in our last regularly scheduled episode, we observed Workers’ Memorial Day and the deadly toll that COVID19 took on workers this past year. We heard from co-workers, community leaders and labor leaders who paid tribute to fallen workers and their families. We were joined by: Yadhira Alvarez, Chief of Staff for the Laundry, Distribution and Food Service Joint Board (LDFS Union), Workers United, SEIU Lou Kimmel, Executive Director, New Labor Tiffany Beavers-Busby, RN in the medical intensive care unit at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, NJ and a Vice President of HPAE Local 5058 Our guests spoke to the horrible toll COVID19 took on their communities and workplaces, the stunning failure of our federal government in responding to the crisis at the behest of hospital lobbyists seeking to cut their losses and accountability, the importance of belonging to a labor union in times of crisis for workers, and why we must continue to march and observe Worker Memorial Day until we can go an entire year without a single worker death. Tiffany shared this important perspective with us: "The inescapable fact is that our employers needlessly exposed Frontline Healthcare Workers to the COVID-19 virus, lagged in informing [...]

By |2021-04-28T15:59:52-04:00April 28th, 2021|Covid-19, Covid-19 Webinars|Comments Off on April 27: Workers Memorial Day – The toll of Covid-19

April 20: COVID-19 and the New Housing Crisis

Today’s webinar explored how COVID-19 has worsened a pre-existing housing crisis in New Jersey, what protections exist for New Jerseyans struggling to pay rent, and what policies we need to prevent post-pandemic evictions and guarantee secure, affordable housing for all. Eric Seymour, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Policy Development at Rutgers’ Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, shared context on the relationship between income loss throughout the pandemic -- particularly severe for those employed in the service sector -- and inability to make rental payments. Recent research showed that New Jersey tenants indicated the highest rate nationwide of “no confidence” in their ability to pay monthly rent -- a result of both COVID-19 and the long-term impact of recession-era foreclosures and prohibitively high housing costs. Prof. Seymour’s research in other states indicates that New Jersey is at risk of a wave of evictions following the end of the current eviction moratorium, which could be exacerbated by the entry of more large, private equity-backed landlords into the state housing market. See Prof. Seymour’s presentation for further information informed by his research, including a set of graphs and visuals illustrating the relationship between COVID-19, race and class, and recent developments in housing insecurity. Staci [...]

By |2021-04-22T16:40:34-04:00April 21st, 2021|Covid-19, Covid-19 Webinars|Comments Off on April 20: COVID-19 and the New Housing Crisis

Methylene Chloride Deaths Highlight Need for EPA Action

A peer-reviewed study published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that 85 people have been killed by the dangerous solvent methylene chloride in the last 4 decades. The study notes that even these numbers don’t capture the full scope of harm, because many deaths likely are unreported, and deaths likely to have occurred due to exposure may not have identified methylene chloride as the cause of death. The study assessed verified deaths from acute exposures but does not capture the harms, including cancer, caused by chronic exposure. Read more: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/daniel-rosenberg/methylene-chloride-deaths-highlight-need-epa-action

By |2021-04-29T17:02:01-04:00April 20th, 2021|WEC in the News|Comments Off on Methylene Chloride Deaths Highlight Need for EPA Action

March 30: COVID, Immigration Status, and Hazardous Working Conditions

This week's webinar focused on how COVID-19 has impacted undocumented workers, the risks that undocumented workers face when they organize against unsafe conditions, and how workers are fighting back despite threats of retaliation. More than 40 people attended this webinar. Vineeta Kapahi, Policy Analyst with NJ Policy Perspective, offered context for why COVID-19 has hit undocumented New Jerseyans particularly hard. Undocumented workers make up a large portion of the workforce in industries deemed essential during the pandemic, and many have been forced to work in unsafe conditions, particularly in sectors already governed by poor or poorly enforced labor protections such as farmwork and warehousing. High rates of workplace exposure, as well as lack of access to health insurance and paid sick leave, have caused disproportionately high COVID-19 death rates in undocumented communities. Undocumented workers are also disproportionately represented in sectors that have experienced the most job losses due to COVID-19, yet they have been excluded from many forms of relief, including CARES Act payments. Immigration enforcement has also exacerbated the dangers of COVID-19 for many undocumented people. All four of New Jersey’s detention facilities have had COVID-19 outbreaks, meaning detention by ICE can be a death sentence. Enforcement also allows for employer [...]

By |2021-03-31T16:45:33-04:00March 31st, 2021|Covid-19, Covid-19 Webinars|Comments Off on March 30: COVID, Immigration Status, and Hazardous Working Conditions

Offshore wind seen as energy and jobs opportunity for New Jersey

Offshore wind has the potential to produce about 90% of the electricity the United States is projected to need in 2050 even if fossil fuels were fully phased out, with New Jersey in position to be among the leading states, according to a new report issued Thursday. Not all of that technical potential for offshore wind energy will be developed – nor should it, says the report from the Frontier Group and Environment America Research & Policy Center. Read More: Offshore wind an energy and jobs opportunity for New Jersey | https://nj1015.com/offshore-wind-seen-as-energy-and-jobs-opportunity-for-new-jersey/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral

By |2021-03-23T14:44:53-04:00March 21st, 2021|Highlights, WEC in the News|Comments Off on Offshore wind seen as energy and jobs opportunity for New Jersey

March 16: COVID-19 and Paid Time Off for New Jersey Workers

We were joined by guests from the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers SMLR and the New Jersey Citizen Action Education Fund to learn about how paid time off intersects with community health and well-being - and worker health and safety - and where and when the NJ policies can be applied. Debra Lancaster from CWW summarized the body of research on the benefits of paid family and sick leave, including addressing gender and racial disparities as well as improving health outcomes and work-family balance. Yarrow Willman-Cole from NJ Citizen Action gave an overview of the overlapping web of job protections available at the national and state level and income replacement programs available at just the state level. They outlined current state and federal laws that make most employees in New Jersey eligible for Temporary Disability and Family Leave insurance (TDI/FLI), and discussed the positive impact these protections have for everyone, but especially for marginalized communities and women highlighting among other points: Longer leaves among new mothers is associated with fewer depressive symptoms When new fathers take paid leave, they are more likely to be engaged caretakers Lower odds of infants being re-hospitalized when paid leave is available to parents Decreased participation [...]

By |2021-03-23T14:10:32-04:00March 17th, 2021|Covid-19, Covid-19 Webinars|Comments Off on March 16: COVID-19 and Paid Time Off for New Jersey Workers
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