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.
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 [...]
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
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 [...]
Statement from Debra Coyle McFadden on being appointed to NJ Council on the Green Economy I am honored to be selected to serve on the Green Economy Council and want to thank Governor Murphy for this opportunity. I look forward to working with the other members of the Council to ensure NJ's green economy works for workers. As we look for opportunities to maximize clean energy jobs, we need to make sure these are family-sustaining, union jobs with strong worker protections -- and that they are accessible to marginalized workers who have traditionally been left behind. This is a once in a generation opportunity and I am ready to get to work. Read Governor Murphy's announcement here.
In advance of Gov. Phil Murphy’s budget plan being proposed Tuesday, groups have begun publicly pressing for him to end longstanding budget practices that shortchange priorities. Among the issues on that lengthy list are NJ Transit, which uses money from its capital program to pay operating costs, and the Board of Public Utilities clean-energy funds that are perennially diverted from their intended purpose to offset costs at NJT and elsewhere in state government. A coalition of groups under the banner Jersey Renews said in a letter to Murphy that the clean energy funds collected from ratepayers on electric bills are supposed to pay for energy conservation and other green-energy initiatives. They say it’s time for a dedicated funding source to support NJ Transit instead. Read entire article here.
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 [...]