From the Executive Director's Desk

While the past few months have been a frightening and tumultuous time, this past month has given us at WEC an enormous amount of hope. 

We’ve seen Black communities rise up to demand an end to police violence in the United States, we’ve seen workers at Amazon stand up to demand a safer work environment, and we saw New Jersey reject austerity and advance authorization for the state to borrow $10 billion dollars to mitigate the Covid-19 disaster.

For WEC’s members, we’ve seen a number of developments that give us hope that we can and will win victories that result in safe, secure jobs and a healthy sustainable environment for everyone in New Jersey. 

First, WEC, with partners in Neighbors for Environmental Justice, Sierra Club, the United Steelworkers, and the Natural Resource Defense Council, are suing Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their final methylene chloride risk evaluation, which unlawfully determined that several uses of methylene chloride in the workplace present no unreasonable risk.

And, as you will read below, WEC has been making moves by advocating for the electrification of trucks and for comprehensive health and safety plans as a necessity for reopening our schools in the wake of COVID-19.

Finally, this month, WEC’s campaign organizer Brandon Castro published an op-ed detailing how a public bank can be used as a vital tool to invest in New Jersey's workers, environment, and communities and to advance equity as something of concrete value for our state. 

This work fills us with hope, but we can’t do it without your support. 

If our fight with our partners and members for equity and sustainability in New Jersey’s communities gives you hope as well, we ask that you become a member of WEC or make a donation. 


In Solidarity,

Debra Coyle McFadden
Executive Director



In Remembrance of David Bensman

This month, WEC would like to celebrate the life of and mourn the passing of, David Bensman. A professor at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, a committed advocate and organizer, and a longtime supporter of WEC, David Bensman is remembered as a kind, supportive, and brilliant voice inside of New Jersey’s labor movement. He will be missed terribly, and our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues, and anyone who stood with him in our shared fight for justice.


COVID-19 Week 21 Webinar 
Saving Lives, Protecting Workers

Speaker: Dr. David Michaels, former Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA under President Obama

Tuesday, August 4 @ 10:00

Register Here



HSN Conference 
Mercury & Lead:
Hidden Toxins in Your School?

Saturday, October 24, 2020


WEC Hazardous Chemical PSA


Pray for the Dead, Fight Like Hell for the Living - "In Memoriam"

This tribute included National COSH Co-director, Jessica Martinez; family members and co-workers of essential workers who died from COVID-19 contracted at work; labor and social justice advocates and Academy Award-winning actress and activist Jane Fonda who was instrumental in getting the video made. Alfredo Pabatao, 68, a medical transporter at Palisades Medical Center and Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) Local 5030 member and his wife of 44 years, Susana, an assistant nurse at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus, who died from the virus four days apart were remembered in the tribute. Watch the video here.

New Jersey Needs a Public Bank - Fast.

This month, Campaign Organizer Brandon Castro published an op-ed in the NJ Star Ledger, examining the benefits of public banking for the state and urging our state government to move forward with implementation.

A public bank makes sense for New Jersey. It lets our state invest its own money, and it can move those funds quickly and efficiently -- with clear and transparent goals. If you’re a hedge fund manager, or profit enormously from state deposits into your bank, this probably all sounds pretty bad. For the rest of us, though, it’s time we moved ahead -- and fast.”

Read the full article here!

And, express that you want public banking in New Jersey by signing our petition here.


Without Effective Infection, Prevention, & Control Plans, Schools Should Not Open. The Risk is Far Too Great.

To date, there have been over 4.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and this virus has no intention of going away anytime soon. 

As New Jersey plans to reopen schools, health and safety must be at the forefront. We cannot reopen schools without strong health and safety measures in place to protect our students and school staff.

Given the lack of strong federal guidance, The New Jersey Work Environment Council, Healthy Schools Now coalition and the national Healthy Schools Network have released A Call to Action: The Pandemic V. Schools. It calls on states to produce authoritative school infection, prevention, and control plans which local schools can adopt. 

Backed by science and developed in partnership with alongside health experts, school advocates, and worker representatives A Call to Action is the first report that simultaneously prioritizes school staff and student’s health.

Read the full report here.  Please contact hsorge@njwec with any questions.


COVID-19 Webinar Series: Saving Lives, Protecting Workers

This month WEC continued, with our partners at Rutgers Learn and Jersey Renews, our webinar series: Saving Lives, Protecting Workers.

Please join us next week, on August 4th @ 10am, we are honored to be welcoming Dr. David Michaels, an epidemiologist and professor at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, and former Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA under President Obama, who will take questions and discuss the science of deception, public policy and how we can do better protecting workers from COVID-19. Click here to register!

On July 14th, we were joined by Christine O’Connell, President of the Union of Rutgers Administrators who spoke about the Rutgers Coalition of Unions, which has formed to help workers support each other across union lines, and Rebecca Kolins Givan, Vice President of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT, who shared her experience organizing alongside Christine.

On July 21st, we were joined by Aaron Jones and Carla Thomas, Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ (SEIU); Mike Fisher, Sub-District Director, United Steelworkers (USW); and Frank James, Financial Secretary, International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 68 (IUOE), who all shared their members’ struggle to access and maintain a stable supply of PPE as well as grave concerns regarding health and job security. 

And, on July 28th, we were joined by Brandon McKoy, President at New Jersey Policy Perspective, who spoke on New Jersey’s desperate need for sustainable revenue for the state through progressive taxation, especially in the wake of the COVID19 crisis, and Brandon Castro, Campaign Organizer at WEC, who spoke on WEC’s efforts to create organizational infrastructure to fight for economic equity in New Jersey, and on public banking as a way for our state to borrow and bank sustainably.

You can view more in depth recaps from all past episodes here.

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

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