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Governor Murphy Announces Members of the New Jersey Council on the Green Economy

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.

By |2021-02-24T16:43:11-05:00February 24th, 2021|Highlights, Press Releases, WEC in the News|Comments Off on Governor Murphy Announces Members of the New Jersey Council on the Green Economy

Murphy urged to end NJ Transit, clean energy fund diversions

TRENTON — 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. “We understand this moment of the pandemic as a crisis and as an opportunity – an opportunity to reassess and redefine who we value and who we take care of as a state,” said Berenice Tompkins, the Jersey Renews campaign organizer. “What we’re really talking about here is taking the clean energy funds and using them for their intended purposes,” said Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council. “It almost feels like [...]

By |2021-02-23T11:56:49-05:00February 23rd, 2021|Highlights, Press Releases, WEC in the News|Comments Off on Murphy urged to end NJ Transit, clean energy fund diversions

Statement on Creation of Office of Climate Action & Green Economy

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 [...]

By |2021-02-16T13:47:25-05:00February 16th, 2021|Highlights, Press Releases|Comments Off on Statement on Creation of Office of Climate Action & Green Economy

WEC and 100+ Worker Groups Release 2021 Worker Safety and Health Agenda

Press Release For Immediate Release: February 3, 2021 Contact: Debra Coyle McFadden Cell: 609/707-1320 Email: dcoyle@njwec.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 [...]

By |2021-02-03T14:52:20-05:00February 3rd, 2021|Highlights, Press Releases|Comments Off on WEC and 100+ Worker Groups Release 2021 Worker Safety and Health Agenda

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
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