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ADVOCATES RELEASE PLAN TO REOPEN SCHOOLS

For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 9, 2020 Contact: Debra Coyle McFadden, Director, NJ Work Environment Council, 609-707-1320, dcoyle@njwec.org 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 [...]

By |2020-07-09T17:27:45-04:00July 9th, 2020|Highlights, Press Releases|Comments Off on ADVOCATES RELEASE PLAN TO REOPEN SCHOOLS

Work Environment Council of New Jersey Releases Guidelines for “A Safe and Just Return to Work”

Los Angeles - “My co-workers are getting sick and we know this disease can be fatal,” said Sofia, a pseudonym for a worker at a Case Farms poultry plant. “We want to do our jobs and help feed people during this crisis. But we need to know our employer is listening to us and doing everything possible to make our workplace safe. Right now, that is not happening.” To ensure safety for Sofia – and millions of others who are still working or will return to work in the coming weeks and months – the Work Environment Council of NJ (WEC) and its national association, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), jointly released a new report today: “A Safe and Just Return to Work.” The United States is far from being ready to open for business without putting not only workers but entire communities at grave risk of illness and death. The document, with comprehensive guidelines for workplace safety, worker participation and fair compensation for sick, injured and at-risk workers, was prepared by experts convened by National COSH. Writers and contributors include certified industrial hygienists, academicians, attorneys, physicians and leaders of non-governmental and nonprofit organizations. “In [...]

By |2020-05-14T17:28:23-04:00May 14th, 2020|Highlights, Press Releases, WEC in the News|Comments Off on Work Environment Council of New Jersey Releases Guidelines for “A Safe and Just Return to Work”

NJ DOH Issues Updated Guidance on Mercury Found in School Floors

Press Release For Immediate Release: February 19, 2020 Contact: Heather L. Sorge, NJ Work Environment Council, Campaign Organizer for Healthy Schools Now 908/310-7874; hsorge@njwec.org Debra Coyle McFadden, NJ Work Environment Council, Executive Director 609/707-1320; dcoyle@njwec.org New Jersey Department of Health Issues Updated Guidance on Mercury Found in School Floors DOH outlines measures to identify, test, manage and eliminate the hazard, but DOH misses the mark to enact the most protective standard for staff and students The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) has released updated guidance for the evaluation and management of mercury-containing floors in NJ schools. Some rubber-like polyurethane floors may contain phenylmercuric acetate (PMA) that over time breaks down and releases mercury vapor indefinitely. Mercury vapor is odorless and colorless. These hazardous floors, which the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), NJ Work Environment Council (WEC), and Healthy Schools Now (HSN) sounded the alarm about back in 2017, continue to be identified in schools across the state and the county. The floors have been installed since the 1960s and may even be hidden under other existing flooring. This flooring, and items that have been in contact with it, may emit harmful mercury vapor. Mercury vapor can damage the central nervous [...]

By |2020-02-24T14:26:48-05:00February 20th, 2020|Highlights, Press Releases|Comments Off on NJ DOH Issues Updated Guidance on Mercury Found in School Floors

WEC in the News! Press Release from Andy Kim’s Office: Congressman Kim Votes to Protect Health Care and Social Service Workers from Workplace Violence

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) voted to pass bipartisan legislation that would protect health care and social service workers from workplace violence, which has increased by 69 percent over the past decade according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics. “Our health care and social service workers do amazing work every day, but too often at great risk,” said Congressman Kim. “Every worker deserves a safe workplace, and this bipartisan bill will take a big step in ensuring that the professionals taking care of people in Burlington and Ocean Counties are taken care of themselves.” The Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, H.R. 1309, would provide protection for workers by requiring that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issue an enforceable federal standard that would require employers to develop workplace violence prevention programs that would save lives. "As a union of healthcare and social service professionals, we applaud Congressional leaders for moving forward legislation to create enforceable standards to finally make workplace safety a priority,” said Debbie White, RN and President of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, AFT/AFL-CIO. “No longer can we accept that violence is “just part of the job.” Workplace violence is [...]

By |2019-11-22T12:57:05-05:00November 22nd, 2019|Press Releases, WEC in the News|Comments Off on WEC in the News! Press Release from Andy Kim’s Office: Congressman Kim Votes to Protect Health Care and Social Service Workers from Workplace Violence

On Sandy Anniversary Labor, Environmental Groups Warn State Officials of Toxic Threat

Seven years after Sandy, are we better prepared for a chemical spill,  fire or explosion if a superstorm hits? TRENTON, NJ—Labor, environmental and community organizations are urging state leaders to plan for toxic chemical spills and other emergencies associated with natural disasters to mark the seventh anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. The worst natural disaster in New Jersey history, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc for millions and devastated record numbers of homes, businesses and schools.  Researchers are still evaluating long-term contaminant threats as they examine how Sandy’s deadly conditions spread oil, hazardous materials, and debris across Mid-Atlantic waterways resulting in compromised infrastructure, beach erosion and sediment disturbance on the coasts of New Jersey and New York. Local groups caution if another superstorm like Sandy hits, over 5,000 facilities comprising New Jersey’s multi-billion dollar chemical industry pose a unique threat to the state, which is America’s most densely populated.  Home to two major oil refineries, New Jersey is also a hub for U.S. petroleum distribution.  Thousands of trains carrying millions of gallons of extremely flammable crude oil pass through NJ communities each week traveling 11 counties crossing bridges that, in some cases, are more than 100 years old. According to the New Jersey Work [...]

By |2019-10-28T10:28:14-04:00October 28th, 2019|Highlights, Press Releases|Comments Off on On Sandy Anniversary Labor, Environmental Groups Warn State Officials of Toxic Threat

SDA Takes Action to Protect Kids from Mercury Found in Floors

Press Release For Immediate Release: July 3, 2019 Contact: Heather L. Sorge, NJ Work Environment Council, Campaign Organizer for Healthy Schools Now 908/310-7874; hsorge@njwec.org Debra Coyle McFadden, NJ Work Environment Council, Executive Director 609/707-1320; dcoyle@njwec.org New Jersey Schools Development Authority Takes Action to Protect Kids from Mercury Found in Floors The New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) will be requiring a certification from manufacturers of rubberized and/or urethane floors installed on SDA projects ensuring the floor does not contain phenyl mercuric acetate (PMA) or other mercury catalysts. These floors, which continue to be identified in New Jersey schools, have been installed since the 1960s. This flooring, and items that have been in contact with it, emit harmful mercury vapor indefinitely. Mercury vapor can damage the central nervous system, kidneys, lungs, skin and eyes and is especially harmful to young children and fetuses whose bodies are still developing.  Studies show that children with autism have an even harder time excreting toxic metals, further increasing the health risk. The additional certification from manufacturers is necessary as Safety Data Sheets and date of installation are not determining factors in identifying whether or not a floor contains mercury.  The floors release odorless, colorless mercury vapor. The only reliable way to determine whether [...]

By |2019-07-03T11:08:47-04:00July 3rd, 2019|Highlights, Press Releases|Comments Off on SDA Takes Action to Protect Kids from Mercury Found in Floors

WEC Statement on New Jersey Budget for FY 2020

  New Jersey Fiscal Year 2020 Budget  Governor Murphy signed New Jersey's Budget for FY2020. The NJ Work Environment Council (WEC) is, for the most part, proud of the progressive, pro-worker, pro-community investments this budget makes. Increased funding into schools and special education programs, including $250 million into special education, $457.5 million into transit, $70 million towards clean energy, $3.8 billion into the public employee pension system and a $401 million deposit into our state’s rainy day fund are all a breath of fresh air in a state previously starved by austerity economics. The Governor also should be commended for signing Executive Order No. 73 directing the Treasury to place up to $235 million in discretionary spending into reserve. It will be monitored by the Treasury and released only if during the course of the fiscal year, sufficient revenues and assumed savings materialize. This is sound fiscal stewardship. However, the FY2020 budget falls short of our goal in supporting safe, secure jobs and a healthy sustainable budget in several ways. The Legislature made it clear raising revenue and creating a progressive tax structure was not a priority, failing to tax opiate manufacturers and the extremely wealthy. And while the budget [...]

By |2019-07-02T14:38:39-04:00July 1st, 2019|Highlights, Press Releases|Comments Off on WEC Statement on New Jersey Budget for FY 2020

2019 Workers’ Memorial Day March & Rally: Not One More Death

Press Release: Sunday, April 28, 2019 Contact Lou Kimmel, 732.762.7687, lkimmel@newlabor.org Cecelia Leto, 609.532.1782, cgilliganleto@njwec.org   2019 Workers' Memorial Day March & Rally: Not One More Death New Brunswick, NJ – Around 300 people gathered at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple on Sunday, April 28 to celebrate Workers’ Memorial Day, an annual day of action to remember those who have died or been injured on the job, and raise awareness to prevent future illnesses, injuries, and deaths. This year, the theme of the rally was “Not One More Death”. Participants renewed their commitment to fight for safe Jobs for all, cognizant of the rash of gun violence in our schools and sacred spaces, as well as the very real impact climate change is already having on workers and communities. The event, organized by New Labor, the New Jersey Work Environment Council, and other partners in the Jersey Renews coalition, brought together a diverse group of workers, immigrants, environmentalists, educators, and health professionals to march and rally for worker and climate justice. In 2018, 28 workers died at work in New Jersey. Example of preventable deaths include: falling from a steel structure, crushed by equipment, crushed by between vehicles, exposed to carbon monoxide [...]

By |2019-05-13T16:32:57-04:00April 29th, 2019|Highlights, Press Releases|Comments Off on 2019 Workers’ Memorial Day March & Rally: Not One More Death

WEC Statement on Comptroller Audit of the Economic Development Authority

January 9, 2018A report released earlier today by the state comptroller confirms what the NJ Work Environment Council (WEC) and our partners have been educating on and advocating around for decades: that our economy in the United States, and in New Jersey, is rigged to benefit the ultra-rich. The report, which detailed a vast failure of oversight and implementation in the state Economic Development Authority's (EDA) tax incentive program, found that the EDA could not identify if the $11 billion of incentives given out since 2005, which went to highly profitable corporations, generated any economic benefit to the state. That's $11 billion which could have gone to building New Jersey's communities. But New Jersey's economic system, our tax code, and our policies are very often not written for us. They are written to dish out corporate welfare, so that wealthy executives can line their pockets while destroying jobs, failing to stimulate or contribute meaningfully to our economy, and polluting our environment. Workers and taxpayers have felt this at every turn- as our state government bends over backwards to please corporations and moneyed interests, in hopes that they will somehow save our economy, our wages remain stagnate, our working conditions fail to [...]

By |2019-01-09T16:45:38-05:00January 9th, 2019|Highlights, Press Releases|Comments Off on WEC Statement on Comptroller Audit of the Economic Development Authority

Debra Coyle McFadden New Executive Director

NJ Work Environment Council Announces Debra Coyle McFadden as the New Executive Director of the State Labor-Environmental Alliance Ewing – The New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) Board is thrilled to announce the formal hiring of Debra Coyle McFadden, a long-time labor-environmental leader and WEC staff member, as WEC’s new Executive Director, effective immediately. Debra joined the staff of WEC in 1997 as a part-time office manager and was the third person WEC hired. Over the last 21 years, she has held numerous positions in the organization that reflected increasing levels of responsibility, including campaign organizer for WEC’s chemical safety and security campaign and staff lead on the Respect Our Right to Know campaign, which ensured that workers and community members have access to information about hazardous and toxic chemicals at industrial facilities around New Jersey. “I look forward to working with Debra Coyle McFadden on issues that are important to refinery and chemical workers of NJ,” stated John Pajak, President, Teamsters Local 877 and WEC Board Member. In 2008, Debra was promoted to Assistant Director. In that role she has been an intricate part of WEC’s senior leadership team and has worked on program and strategic planning, budget and [...]

By |2018-11-27T06:36:49-05:00November 27th, 2018|Highlights, Press Releases, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Debra Coyle McFadden New Executive Director
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