WEC 2023 Awards Ceremony



Sean M. Spiller
Sean M. SpillerNJEA President

Sean M. Spiller, a high school science teacher in the Wayne public schools, is president of the New Jersey Education Association. Spiller was elected NJEA president in 2021, his term beginning on Sept. 1.

Prior to his 2013 election to NJEA secretary-treasurer, Spiller served as an executive board member of the Passaic County Education Association (2005-2013). He also served as president (2007-2013) and negotiations team member of the Wayne Education Association. At NJEA, he was the chair of the Congressional Contact Committee, a member of the Urban Education Committee and an ethnic minority-at-large representative to the Delegate Assembly.

Spiller’s focus as a leader, throughout his service for NJEA, has been on helping members become more involved at the community level in confronting the intersection of challenges that affect public education and school employees, students, and their families. He sees the burdens placed on families with student debt, limited access to health care and underfunded communities as critical issues. As NJEA president, he aims to strengthen public education in New Jersey by confronting systemic racism, and building equity for social, economic, gender and sexual identity, and racial justice.

Spiller and his wife Lauren, also a public school teacher and NJEA member, live with their two children in Montclair where, since 2012 he has served on the township council and in 2020 was elected mayor. He is also a member of the Montclair Business Improvement District, a member of the Montclair NAACP, the League of Women Voters and many other local groups and organizations.

Paul Orum
Paul OrumNational Chemical Safety Advocate

Paul Orum is a national chemical safety advocate with more than 25 years of background in public information policy on industrial chemicals. He has organized national public interest coalitions to promote safer chemicals and processes through alternatives assessment. His published reports have analyzed community vulnerabilities to chemical emergencies and identified solutions that reduce chemical hazards.

Previously, Orum directed a nationwide network of advocacy groups committed to community right-to-know about chemical hazards and prevention. He has advised federal agencies on environmental information, community right-to-know, and chemical hazard prevention, while also providing testimony before Congressional Committees on chemical safety and security. Orum is a graduate of the University of Oregon.

Reports include:

  • “Reducing the Potential Scope of Chemical Catastrophes in the US Chemical Industry: Evidence From the EPA’s Risk Management Planning Program,” New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, Volume 32, Issue 2, August 2022;
  • “Who’s in Danger? Race, Poverty, and Chemical Disasters,” Environmental Justice and Health Alliance, 2014;
  • “Chemical Security 101: What You Don’t Have Can’t Leak, or Be Blown Up by Terrorists,” Center for American Progress, 2008;
  • “Toxic Trains and the Terrorist Threat: How Water Utilities Can Get Chlorine Gas Off the Rails and Out of American Communities,” Center for American Progress, 2007;
  • “Preventing Toxic Terrorism: How Some Chemical Facilities are Removing Danger to American Communities,” Center for American Progress, 2006.
Howard Boyer
Howard Boyer

Howard Boyer has worked for Thermo Fisher Scientific for 48 years. He has been an active union member at his worksite working to ensure safe working conditions. In 2000, he was appointed worksite Health and Safety Representative for United Steelworkers Local 4-417 for Bridgwater and Fairlawn locations.

He has been active in the union and has held many positions including Shop Steward, USW District 4 Health & Safety Incident Investigator, USW District 4 Health & Safety Worker Trainer, USW Local 4-417 Trustee, and USW Local 4-417 Rapid Response Coordinator. Howard has trained hundreds of USW members on a variety of topics from the year 2000 to present. He is always eager to learn and has attended dozens of WEC trainings.

He is currently organizing a new chapter of USW Steelworker Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) members in Central Jersey with a number of retired USW members and likeminded union people.

Howard has been married to his wife Susan for 48 years and they have two children Coleen and Howard the 3rd (Howard’s wife Holly), and three grandchildren Samantha, Carson and Cameron. Upon retirement, Howard looks forward to continuing to be active with USW and WEC.

Algernon Ward Jr.
Algernon Ward Jr.

Algernon Ward Jr. from Trenton NJ is a product of the Trenton school system and a graduate of Trenton State College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. After a time employed in private laboratories, “Algie” embarked on a career in public service at the New Jersey Department of Health, rising from the position of Laboratory Technician to become the department’s First African American Research Scientist where he specialized in analytical chemistry.

His Acknowledgements include NJ Department of Health Employee of the Year, Outstanding Leadership Award from the Communication Workers of America, and Outstanding Community Service Awards from the Ewing Neighborhood Center and Trenton State College.

Algernon has an extensive record in community service serving on the Community Advisory Board of Rutgers University, Chairman of the Board of Incorporators for the Trenton Community Credit Union, a former Board Member of the Trenton Board of Education and Trenton Zoning Board. Algie serves on the Board of Directors of the Trenton Historical Society and is a Trenton Human Relations Commissioner.

His bona fides as a community leader is demonstrated by serving as President of the 6th Regiment, United States Colored Troops Reenactors Inc., President of Community In Action Civic Association, former Vice President of Trenton Council of Civic Associations and former Vice President of the Trenton chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Algie currently serves as the Project Director of the Locust Hill Black Museum Project to establish Trenton’s first black museum.

Algernon has been a life-long environmental advocate who served as the Spokesman for the Keep Water Public Movement which opposed privatization of the Trenton Water Works, Organizer of the Yes We Can campaign to install a civilian Police Director in Trenton, Organizer of the "Lawn Chair Crusade" an anti-drug take back our streets campaign, a Spokesman for the We The People Coalition of grass-roots civic groups and is a founding member of the Mercer County Jobs With Justice Coalition. In Algie’s political life he is a member of the Trenton Democratic Committee and a candidate for North Ward City Councilman.

Make The Road NJ
Make The Road NJ
New Labor
New Labor

On February 6, 2023, Governor Murphy signed a landmark law first-in the nation, The Temp Workers Bill of Rights, which gives dignity to temp workers in the workplace by expanding their rights. This effort was organized by New Labor and Make the Road New Jersey and is the result of a collective fight of dozens of organizations calling for an end to the injustice. There are at least 100 temp agencies, mostly in warehouses and the logistics industry, and more than 127,000 temp workers in New Jersey.

In 2016, NJ.com, Invisible Workplaces, which raised up the deplorable conditions temp workers face in New Jersey. The piece included several New Labor members. After this piece was published, New Labor members got together and crafted The Temp Workers Bill of Rights.

An initial bill was introduced in 2016 by Sheila Oliver and then reintroduced in 2018-2019 with Assemblyman Danielsen and Assemblywoman Lopez. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit and the bill was stalled. It was slightly revamped and reintroduced by Assemblywoman Lopez and Senator Cryan for 2022.

The Temporary Workers Bill of Rights law gives new rights to many temporary workers including:
• Receiving assignment information in your language
• Equal pay and benefits as client company employees doing same or very similar work
• No fees for transportation or check cashing
• Paid hours if your assignment is canceled or moved.

Temp firms and client companies can face penalties for violating the law.

About Make the Road New Jersey: Make the Road New Jersey builds the power of immigrant and working class people of color to achieve dignity and respect through community organizing, the provision of high quality legal and support services, policy innovation and transformative education.

MRNJ's Worker Justice Committee is comprised of low wage immigrant workers, primarily from the logistics sector, who have fought to win higher standards and build power in the job. In addition to winning a $15 minimum wage, the nation's strongest anti-wage theft law and first guarantee severance law and blocking Amazon's secret Air Hub from being built at the Newark Airport, this year MRNJ's Worker Justice Committee, along with New Labor and allies, won landmark protections for the state's hundreds of thousands of essential temp workers.

About New Labor: New Labor is an organization of mostly Latinx immigrant workers that educates, organizes and fights for better conditions of work. We run on collective power: ordinary people doing things together that no one could do on their own, like confronting workplace abuses, fighting for immigration reform and providing educational classes. New Labor lives and works by our shared principles: working together, creating opportunities, respect, equality, and empowerment.

New Labor was founded in 2000 in New Brunswick, NJ as an organization for temp workers that didn't have one. We have grown by developing worker leaders who identify and run campaigns. Through participatory research, mobilization, organizing and direct action, members and supporters have fought to recover unpaid wages and assure safe workplaces and transportation for tempo workers, and won the New Jersey Temp Worker Bill of Rights. Leaders are currently enforcing it through formal complaints and direct action! Similar efforts have meant winning earned sick time, minimum wage, drivers licenses for all, and we're continuing to fight for a domestic workers bill of rights.

Since our founding, we have over 5,000 members and additional centers Newark and Lakewood, NJ. Check us out: www.newlabor.org