This month we kicked off WEC’s demand for Public Banking for New Jersey in a webinar that centered the voices of organizers, activists, workers and experts. We heard from Trina Scordo, executive director at New Jersey Communities United, Beverly Brown Ruggia, Financial Justice organizer at New Jersey Communities United, and Julie Plotkin, Associate Director of Education and Evaluation Research at the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) on why a democratically operated, publicly owned bank committed to investing in the public good is critical for their members’ success. We also heard directly from workers on the ground, including: Nikki Baker, an educational professional in the Paterson public school district, who spoke to unacceptable conditions in the district’s school buildings, and the need for serious capital investment to fix these issues, including severe mold problems, and HVAC and air circulation which makes the building particularly dangerous during the COVID pandemic. Ivan Wei, who spoke to his family's struggles as small business owners of color in New Jersey, including consistent neglect or exploitation from big banks, making it near impossible to open an account or gain access to a non-predatory line of credit. Ivan highlighted that community banks and credit unions, the kind a [...]
Call Your Congressional Representative and Congressman Frelinghuysen With Congressional Representatives heading back to their Districts, now is the time to urge your Representative to stand up for worker safety and the environment. Please ask that they oppose any budget cuts that would hinder federal and state agencies from protecting us. When Congress returns to DC on April 25, they only have three days to pass a continuing resolution so the government doesn’t shut down. We already know that the President’s administration is eyeing draconian budget cuts in fiscal year 2018; gouging the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Labor (DOL) budgets by 21% and 33% respectively, and entirely eliminating the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) among other vital programs. These cuts have real consequences in New Jersey, which has more than 5,000 facilities that each use more than 10,000 pounds of hazardous chemicals, and has the highest population density of any state. New Jersey also has more contaminated sites in the federal superfund program than any other state. Take Action: 1) Urge your Representative to oppose any draconian budget cuts to DOL, EPA and CSB that would put workers lives and the environment at risk. 2) Urge NJ Congressman [...]
If we want to put an end to Wall Street’s reckless strip mining of our economy, we must build a clear, shared understanding of runaway inequality, and a broad-based movement for fundamental economic justice. In order to help build a strong network of activists ready to take on Wall Street, WEC will be coordinating a series of “Train the Trainer” sessions, in which organizers can come together and discuss how best to take on Wall Street and reduce its influence on our state and federal policy. These sessions, hosted by Les Leopold (director of The Labor Institute & author of Runaway Inequality) will help committed organizers develop the tools necessary to advocate around issues of income inequality and pursue real, substantial solutions. Apply now to be a part of our alliance and help contribute to the conversation about what has happened to our economy and how we can work together to fix it. Apply to Participate Learn More
Aging railroad bridges cross many of New Jersey’s waterways. Many of the bridges are used to move highly flammable hazardous materials, including Bakken crude oil, throughout our state. The condition of bridges has been virtually unknown because there is no state or federal requirement for railroad companies to disclose bridge inspection reports, until now. Take Action: Contact your local or state representatives and ask that they make a request for a bridge inspection report. The request can only be made for a bridge in the jurisdiction that they represent. Then ask them to share that information with the community. See this factsheet created by the Waterkeeper and Riverkeeper titled, The Fast Act: Public Bridge Inspection Report Requests for more information.
The deadly hazards of Bakken crude oil shipments are of particular concern to residents of New Jersey, as thousands of these rail cars now pass through our towns in at least 11 counties. A derailment in communities such as Edison, Woodbridge, Carteret, Perth Amboy or Linden would threaten hundreds of thousands of people and the environment. The vapors from a spill, even without a fire or explosion, pose a serious health risk, including exposure to cancer-causing benzene; toluene, which has been linked to nerve damage; and hydrocarbons that have been linked to lung damage. There are two pieces of legislation that will be voted on by the Senate this Monday that will help protect New Jersey communities. Please contact your Senator and tell them to vote yes on S2979 and SCR165. S-2979 (Weinberg D-37/Gordon D-38) Requires owners of railroad bridges to submit annual bridge inspection records to the Department of Transportation. SCR165 (Weinberg D-37/Sacco D-32) Urges Congress to pass "Crude-by-Rail Safety Act" which would strengthen safety measures for the transport of crude oil by rail to protect the environment, the public, and communities in America. For more information on the hazards of Bakken crude oil by rail, download the WEC factsheet [...]
Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and tell your U.S. Senators and member of the U.S. House of Representatives to oppose fast track authority and the TPP. Did Republicans or Democrats running for Congress in the recent elections say, "Vote for me and I'll support global trade agreements that undermine jobs, wage levels, and environmental standards at home and abroad?" Of course not. They knew they would be voted out if they ran on that platform. Yet, Republican leaders and President Obama are saying after the election that they want to join together to pass a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with 11 other countries, along with so-called "fast track" authority that would let them ram it through. TPP would be a massive agreement sought by Wall Street, the drug and chemical industries, and other huge corporations. It has two basic purposes: To make it easier to move millions of jobs overseas and exploit workers in other countries at starvation wage levels. To make it easier to challenge and invalidate federal, state, and local environmental and worker safeguards or other public policies that could reduce future corporate profits. So far the countries negotiating TPP include not only the U.S. but also [...]
TAKE ACTION NOW! Call Governor Christie at (609) 292-6000 and tell him attending school shouldn't make our children sick! It's time the Schools Development Authority (SDA) takes action to repair and modernize our schools. Download action flyer. Background Under the Christie administration, school repairs, renovations and construction in the 31 designated high-priority districts have stalled, slowed and in some cases stopped, leaving students, educators and school staff to endure terrible conditions on a daily basis. Healthy Schools Now, along with 43 organizations, including WEC, representing parents, school employees, students and other healthy schools advocates delivered a letter to Governor Christie asking him to take immediate action regarding the unsafe and poor conditions of our public schools and requesting repairs be made during the summer months. To date, the Governor has not responded and urgent repairs remain incomplete. Sample Message: I am a (parent/educator/resident) from (name of school & city) calling to express my disappointment with the lack of SDA action to repair and modernize our schools. Also share: specific examples of unhealthy or unsafe conditions in your school (such as mold, leaking roofs, exposed electrical, overcrowding, etc.) how have these poor conditions hurt you, the community, your child or students (such [...]
July 18, 2013 - Governor Christie vetoed S1778 today. This bill would have helped to better protect and provide for medical care and treatment for all our first responders. Go to the HPAE website to read a statement from Ann Twomey, President, HPAE. Background Read the Star Ledger Guest Opinion Piece Protect those Who Protect New Jerseyans written by Dominick Marino, President of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, Ann Twomey, President of Health Professionals and Allied Employees, and Ed Brannigan, President of the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police.
On March 21st 2013, the NJ State Appellate Court ruled to allow the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to issue waivers of important environmental and worker protections. THEY GOT IT WRONG! But, our Legislators can still override the rule to ensure safeguards that will protect our environment and workplaces. The DEP's waiver rule sets up a process to let wealthy corporations and individuals simply ignore the law. That's why twenty-eight labor and environmental organizations, including WEC, filed a lawsuit to block the DEP waiver rule. Governor Christie's Executive Order #2 mandated every state agency to create waivers that would essentially allow them to deregulate themselves. The first agency to enact a waiver rule was the Department of Environmental Protection. We need our Legislators to uphold safeguards that protect workers, communities, and the environment. Tell your Legislators to override the DEP waiver rule and all future waiver rules. TAKE ACTION Sign a petition to save our safeguards now! *We, the undersigned, call on all NJ legislators to stand up for our families and communities and... * Vote for resolutions that reject the waiver rules issued by the first two state agencies so far - the Department of Environmental Protection and Division [...]
Sign a Petition to Management of Phillips 66 to Rescind Their Staffing Cuts to Their Linden Refinery Fire Department
Please help draw the line on wealthy corporations that risk our health and safety to squeeze even more profit. Phillips 66 (formerly ConocoPhillips) is cutting firefighting personnel, training, and equipment that protect against the risk of fire and explosion at their massive Bayway refinery in Linden, NJ. Phillips 66 had fourth-quarter profits from refining and marketing of $1 billion - five times higher than the previous year. It increased by 25% the dividends it pays to shareholders like Warren Buffett (the second richest man in the United States). The refinery is right in the middle of a highly populated metropolitan area with airports, ports, and low income residential areas. You've no doubt been inside the refinery boundaries, since the NJ Turnpike runs through it. The refinery produces petroleum products like gasoline that are extremely flammable. Effective fire protection is essential for both workers and surrounding neighborhoods. TAKE ACTION Please sign and circulate the petition developed by Teamsters Local 877, which represents the Phillips 66 workers. BACKGROUND Phillips 66 executives are cutting the Fire Department at Bayway Refinery by 40%, eliminating firefighting training for the rescue squad, eliminating key personnel who keep the refinery running safely, refusing to repair bridges needed for [...]