From the Executive Director's Desk

As we head into the summer vacation months, I hope we are all able to take some time off. As we visit with friends and family that we may not have seen over the past 18 months, it’s important to remember that the pandemic is not over. We must continue to stay vigilant as the Delta variant takes hold in the United States, and here in New Jersey the RT rate continues to inch up

Why? Compared to the original virus, the Delta variant produces 1,000 times as many copies of the virus in your respiratory tract, grows at a rapid rate, and spreads 225% faster. 

Parts of the country that have lower vaccination rates are being hit the hardest. New Jersey ranks as number 8 for states with a vaccination rate of just over 56% while Arkansa, Missisiipi and Alabama are ranked 49, 50 and 51 respectively with vaccination rates ranging from 33%- 35%.

While vaccinations are highly effective against the new variant, you can still contract it. So why get vaccinated? Your symptoms are more likely to be mild, as opposed to the terrifying, life threatening symptoms that can occur in COVID’s worst cases..

The NJ Department of Health has a number of good resources and information on the vaccine including their newsletter, Vax Matters. By the way, you can get a free ride on NJ Transit to and from your vaccine appointment. 

If you want more information about the vaccine, consider attending one of WEC’s upcoming trainings.See our calendar below. Qualifying participants can receive a $30 gift certificate for attending. 


Debra Coyle McFadden
Executive Director

P.S. It's never too late to become a WEC member


Fixing the U.S. Chemical Safety Board

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is stronger after three new appointees from President Biden, but still in need of improvement.

“The information that they put out is used by the entire universe from industry to advocates. That’s why it’s still critically important that they’re able to fulfill their mission” -Deb Coyle-McFadden, WEC’s executive director

The CSB is one of our nation’s best tools for investigating the causes of and preventing future major chemical releases. For the past 4 years, however, the CSB eroded through attrition, as the previous presidential administration failed to appoint new members. 

Click here to read WEC and 21 other organizations’ recommendations for strengthening the CSB’s ability to fight chemical disasters COVID19 Vaccination Overview and Map's COVID19 hub has provided a town-by-town breakdown of vaccination rates. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to see the easy-to-use map, which demonstrates that portions of NJ are still terribly undervaccinated.


NJ COVID-19 Awareness & Prevention Training

Monday, July 19, 3:00pm - 5:00pm

Capacitación sobre prevención y concientización sobre el COVID-19

Martes 27 de Julio, 6:00 pm - 8:00pm

Identifying Hazards in the Workplace in the Time of COVID-19

Wednesday, July 28, 10:00am - 12:00pm


WEC Continues to Provide Paid COVID-19 Training through the Summer

WEC's COVID-19 training educates high-risk workers to identify and report unsafe conditions that could lead to COVID-19 exposure on the job. The training includes new curriculum to increase our understanding of the COVID-19 vaccines, and learn ways to cope with the pandemic. Eligible New Jersey workers will receive a stipend of $15 an hour to attend this two-hour training. We are using a new curriculum, so those who attended a COVID-19 training session in late 2020 can apply for a stipend. (See requirements on registration page.)

Upcoming Trainings

WEC can also provide worksite specific training AND training in Spanish. Contact Cecelia Leto at or Walter Diaz at wdiaz@njwec

Monday, July 19, 3:00pm - 5:00pm - NJ COVID-19 Awareness & Prevention Training
Through the NJ COVID-19 Awareness and Prevention Training, employers, workers, and worker representatives will gain knowledge through participatory training sessions to reduce the risks of exposure to the COVID-19 in the workplace. WEC can pay participants $15 an hour to attend this training. Click here for more information.

Martes 27 de Julio, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm - Capacitación sobre prevención y concientización sobre el COVID-19.  A través de la Capacitación sobre prevención y concientización sobre el COVID-19, los empleadores, los trabajadores y los representantes de los trabajadores obtendrán conocimientos a través de sesiones de capacitación participativa para reducir los riesgos de exposición al COVID-19 en el lugar de trabajo. WEC puede pagar a los participantes $15 por hora para que asistan a esta capacitación. Haga clic aquí para más información.

Wednesday, July 28, 10:00am - 12:00pm - Identifying Hazards in the Workplace in the Time of COVID-19. Understanding the hierarchy of Systems of Safety (with design as the primary system) enables workers to become active participants in developing and implementing safe work practices (“training and procedures”). Join us as we introduce the concept of Systems of Safety and identifying safety system failures in the workplace. Click here for more information.


Energy Costs Aren’t Just a Pandemic Issue

“Seven years ago, long before the pandemic, I was a recipient of the Comfort Partners energy efficiency assistance program. The funding allowed me to buy a new heater, weatherize my windows and patio door and make critical repairs to my kitchen and bathroom that I would not have been able to afford as a single mother and homeowner.  

I was charged nothing for these improvements, but I actually did help pay for them. Comfort Partners is funded through a program under the Board of Public Utilities called the Clean Energy Program. Along with energy efficiency assistance programs, the Clean Energy Program supports renewable energy development, green job training and more. 

It’s clear that these programs need to reach more people, especially right now. Yet a large percentage of the money we all pay in never even makes it to the Clean Energy Program. This year’s budget includes a raid to the CEF of more than $80 million, roughly one quarter of the entire fund.” 

This excerpt comes from a recent op-ed written by LaShaunda Carter, director of the Burlington County organization NJ Sanctuary for Veterans. LaShaunda is an important partner in the  Jersey Renews campaign to end raids to the Clean Energy Fund and secure dedicated funding for New Jersey Transit. Check out her full, powerful op-ed here!!

Governor Murphy promised to end clean energy raids on the campaign trail for his first term. Last month, our campaign came close to ending these raids, through budget resolutions sponsored by Sen. Loretta Weinberg that would have ended the transfer from the CEF to New Jersey Transit, as well as ended diversions from the agency’s capital budget. 

Despite the support of more than a dozen other Senate and Assembly members and the hard work of grassroots advocates, Sen. Weinberg’s resolutions were not included in the final budget, and transfers from the Clean Energy Fund are ongoing. 

To join us in our fight to end CEF raids, reach out to Berenice at


NJ Labor Gets Behind Electric Trucks

This month, WEC joined a diverse group of fifteen unions and labor organizations in submitting joint comments urging New Jersey to adopt a strong Advanced Clean Trucks Rule (or ACT), a precedent-setting regulation that would accelerate the transition from diesel to electric trucks. 

The commenters, including public, private sector and building trades unions, stressed the health impact of diesel exposure on logistics and transportation hub workers, as well as the capacity for truck electrification to create good, long-term jobs across New Jersey’s economy: from charging station installation, to vehicle maintenance, to trucking and logistics. 

Commenters made several recommendations to strengthen worker protections in the policy, including measures to ensure that reporting costs are not passed on to individual truckers, many of whom are already economically exploited. 

WEC and our partners also urged the state to pursue complementary policies to support workers who may be displaced by electrification, invest in an electric vehicle manufacturing supply chain to create additional secure, long-term jobs, and target investments in front-line communities. 

You can read the full comments here or learn more about the ACT Rule here!


NJ Needs Safe & Healthy Classroom Temperature

Classroom temperatures are about more than comfort. Teaching, learning, and even health is likely to suffer if classrooms are too hot or cold. Staff and students may experience headaches, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. 

Temperatures ranging from 68 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (° F) are widely accepted as achievable and comfortable. Sadly, far too many classrooms in NJ see the thermometer rise well into the 90’s when hot weather is in the forecast.

Any temperature above 80 °F is not acceptable, and can be a health problem. In addition, recent studies have shown that excessive heat affects learning in the classroom. 

Every school building in every district needs heating and cooling systems capable of keeping temperatures in the comfortable range no matter what the weather is outside.

Bills ensuring temperature controls in every district have been introduced in the New Jersey legislature every year since 2007. Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, D-Essex, is sponsoring a bill (A1044) that would require school districts create policies to maintain reasonable temperatures in all classrooms. Jasey introduced the first version of the bill back in 2015. A version introduced in 2018 passed the Assembly, but never made it to the state Senate’s floor. This time, the bill must pass!

To combat this issue, it is critical we develop a two-pronged strategy to protect staff and students from temperature extremes: 

  • fight for strong legislation protecting students in every district, 
  • and stand with your union to negotiate strong contract language in regards to temperature. 

Contact your legislators now and support your local education association in their pursuit of safe temperatures for staff and students!


Graphic credit: AFL-CIO Website:

AFL-CIO Releases Executive Paywatch Breakdown

This month, the AFL-CIO put out an Executive Paywatch breakdown, finding that CEO’s of S&P companies received an average of $15.5 million in total compensation. This brings the S&P 500 CEO-to-worker pay ratio to 299-to-1. That means for every dollar a worker makes per hour, one of the top 500 CEOs makes 299 dollars.

In fact, the median pay for one of the TOP 100 CEO’s in the S&P 500 was about $55,000,000 a year. Meanwhile, pay for the average non-supervisory worker in June of 2021 came out to about $42,000 a year. That means the pay gap between the median worker and the median top 100 CEO was 1310-to-1. 


A Public Bank to Reclaim our Economy

The AFL-CIO’s report drives home a bleak reality: that we are working every day to put money in the pockets of the ultra rich, who drive our economic policies in their favor. And the situation will only get worse, unless we demand something different.

Worsening inequality is why WEC is advocating for a worker and community owned public bank, that will invest public dollars in the working class instead of into Wall Street banks- the same institutions driving the absurd inequality we’re now experiencing.

Tell state leadership we want a public bank in New Jersey now, owned by and invested in New Jersey’s working people! 


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

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