Happy Holidays

From the Executive Director's Desk

As 2020 comes to an end, please consider supporting WEC in your year end giving.

Together, we can continue to fight to expand COVID-19 protections for workers; strengthen New Jersey’s middle class; create good paying green jobs; keep toxic chemicals out of our communities; and ensure safe, healthy and modern schools for all students and staff.

Our work depends on our members and individual donors, To help us continue through 2021, please join WEC as a member or make a donation! 

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy holiday season.


Debra Coyle McFadden
Executive Director



NJ Legislature Pushing Bad EDA Bill

After years of organizers, advocates and activists raising the alarm about our state's terrible, corrupt tax incentive program, and fighting tooth and nail to change it, the state is pushing another $11.5 billion in tax breaks in a bill that is to be voted on in less than a week! 

We cannot let corporations continue to exploit New Jersey's economy. Contact your legislator and let them know that they work for you- not big corporations. Tell them you OPPOSE S3295 and A4!

WEC’s Annual Membership Meeting - Success!

On December 4, WEC held our annual membership meeting! We heard updates from WEC staff on the work they’ve been doing and the accomplishments we’ve made this past year, including presentations on COVID-19 worker protections, offshore wind, electrification of the transportation sector, healthy schools, preventing toxic exposure, and runaway inequality.

WEC is excited to work with our membership in 2021 to reduce systemic inequalities in our workplaces, our schools, and our communities. To become a member of WEC, visit our website @ njwec.org/support-us/ or contact Susan Esposito @ sesposito@njwec.org 


Time for Turbines
January 26th and 27th
9 am-1 pm

Register Here



WEC Hazardous Chemical PSA


Thank you, Jim Moran 

On November 21, workers everywhere lost a champion with the passing of Jim Moran. Jim was a fierce advocate for workers' health and safety and a dear friend to so many in the labor movement. Jim along with Rick Engler co-founded PhilaPOSH in 1975. In 1981, they successfully advocated for Philadelphia City Council to pass a Right-to-Know law that required companies to disclose if they were using certain toxic chemicals -- the strongest such law in the nation at the time.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Jim will be remembered for his love of the Philadelphia Eagles. We will miss his fighting spirt, sense of humor and most of all his smile. Read more about Jim and his life's work here. 


COVID-19 Webinar Series: Saving Lives, Protecting Workers 

Please join us for our next episode on December 22 @ 10am: A Year in Review REGISTER HERE. 

December Highlights

This month, on December 1, we were joined by representatives from the Communication Workers of America, including Fran Ehret, CWA NJ National Staff Representative, Bill Bradley, CWA NJ Senior Campaign Lead, Jim McAsey, CWA NJ National Staff Representative, Keith Felder, Executive Vice President of CWA Local 1087, Trina Scordo, Executive Director of New Jersey Communities United, and Jon Worley, President of CWA Local 1084.

We discussed some of the CWA educational and skills-building trainings the national health and safety committee has facilitated with over 350 rank-and-file H&S committee members from over 20 Locals in the public and private sectors in NJ. We also heard from local leaders about several successful collective efforts to win strong COVID health and safety measures in their workplaces. 

On December 8, we were joined by Les Leopold, co-founder and Executive Director of the Labor Institute. Les, who is the author of several books on the financialization of the US Economy, including Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice, spoke to the role the ultra-rich, hedge funds and other financial institutions have played in exacerbating COVID-19’s impact, specifically on communities of color and poor communities. 

He covered the economic mechanisms these institutions use to extract wealth from our medical infrastructure, resulting in the severe lack of preparedness for public health disasters we are currently experiencing, and extreme inequalities in access to safe jobs, preventative care, and adequate treatment.

And, on December 15th, we heard from Deborah Cornavaca, Deputy Chief of Staff at Governor Murphy's Office, Jill Gutierrez, Director of Strategic Planning and Outreach for the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development and Justin Baker, who serves as Chief of Occupational Health at the NJ Department of Labor.

Deborah outlined the state’s vaccination plan for the coming months, including a tier system prioritizing frontline workers, followed by Jill who summarized protections and benefits for worker COVID19 safety under Executive Order 192. Justin then offered more information on employers’ responsibilities under EO192, including the provision of masks, notification of potential exposure, separation of symptomatic employees, and prompt cleaning and disinfection. 

You can view more in-depth recaps and find relevant information regarding these programs here.


HSN Making Progress on School Mercury Flooring Issue

Healthy Schools Now continues to advocate for the identification, testing, and remediation of rubberized flooring made using phenylmercuric acetate (PMA), which were widely installed in schools, retirement homes, community centers, and other public spaces across our country starting in the 1960s. 

In response to our work, the NJ Schools Development Authority (SDA), began the SDA Mercury Flooring Initiative in 2020. First performing inspections at over 140 SDA-delivered projects to identify where the subject flooring was installed, followed by bulk sample testing at those facilities that contained poured rubberized floors. Finally, a small percentage of the facilities were identified as appropriate for air testing based upon the results of bulk sampling. This step is ongoing.

On December 1, Senator Cory Booker introduced legislation, which HSN and partners helped develop, S4934: The Mercury Vapor Study Act of 2020, which would help address this potential health hazard by requiring federal agencies to study the impact on human health of mercury vapor from PMA flooring and develop an official risk assessment model. The bill also requires that the agencies create a registry of schools with PMA flooring and make schools aware of the risk from these floors, and best practices to mitigate the risk of mercury vapor exposure.

The HSN Coalition, WEC IH team, and partner NJEA, have been successful in assisting several districts in removing these floors. We continue to demand that the state of New Jersey identify, test, and fund the remediation and removal of rubberized floors contaminated with mercury in our schools as well as place a ban on any future installation of polyurethane/rubberized floors that contain mercury catalysts. 

Please sign our petition and join us in demanding that Governor Murphy and the Legislators immediately take action to protect school staff and students from toxic mercury vapor. 


Save the Date: Time for Turbines 2021!

We’re thrilled to announce that Time for Turbines IV will take place in the new year on January 26th-27th. The 2021 edition of our offshore wind conference will be different in a couple of important ways: it will be virtual, and it will be free!

Time for Turbines is an annual conference convened by Jersey Renews that brings together policymakers, labor and environmental advocates to discuss current issues and opportunities in New Jersey’s rapidly expanding offshore wind program. 

This year’s theme is Building a New Green Workforce: Training and Access for Offshore Wind Jobs. Speakers will focus on workforce development and equity in the offshore wind industry, with an emphasis on identifying access barriers to good jobs in this field and offering policy solutions. We’ll hear from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority about the launch of the cutting-edge Wind Institute, which will coordinate workforce development specifically for offshore wind.

It’s been a big year for offshore wind, so we’ll also hear the latest information on the NJ Wind Port, the state’s progress toward 7500 megawatts by 2035 (spoiler: we’re ahead of schedule!), and commitments made to ensure that this new industry benefits local NJ communities. 

Our panelists will respond to these developments in conversations about how to create long-term jobs through building out renewable manufacturing in our region, mitigate the environmental impacts of wind energy, and more.

The conference will run from 9 am-1 pm each day, followed by a virtual networking space where you’ll have the opportunity to connect with other attendees according to your field and interests. 

See you in January!


Workers at Meatpacking Plants in Extreme Danger of COVID19

The meatpacking industry has a long history of exploiting its workers, often employing undocumented workers whose employers feel they can abuse with impunity due to the fear of deportation. 

That’s why it’s shocking, horrific, unacceptable, but perhaps not altogether surprising that workers in the meatpacking industry have suffered an enormous amount of COVID19 cases, largely due to inadequate health and safety measures, according to a recent study.

Trump issued an executive order on April 28 directing meatpackers to reopen closed facilities, and the administration eschewed mandatory Covid-19 safety regulation, opting instead for voluntary industry guidelines.”

Dr. David Michaels, who previously headed OSHA under President Obama, and who spoke on WEC’s weekly COVID19 Webinar Series, is quoted in the article noting that this study is evidence that “...workplace exposures play an important role in driving the pandemic in the U.S.” and that “If we don’t make workplaces safe, it will be difficult to stop the pandemic, save lives and reopen the economy...”


New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC)
172 West State Street 2nd Floor | Trenton, New Jersey 08608
609.882.6100 | info@njwec.org

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