From the Acting Executive Director's Desk

This has been a tough month and particularly a tough week. From the Supreme Court attacking workers to legitimizing President Trump's travel ban. And although President Trump's "zero tolerance" policy to separate families crossing into the US from the Mexico border has ended, many of the 2,500 children remain separated from their families. This is unacceptable. We must make our voices heard and demand we do better as a country. Sixteen towns in New Jersey will be hosting "Families Belong Together" marches and rallies in addition to a march and rally in Washington, DC. Organizers stated more than 400,00 have RSVPed. 

In the meantime, the US Environmental Protection Agency has now issued a proposal to rescind chemical safety rule amendments that were issued late in President Obama's term. After more than three years of collecting thousands of comments from various stakeholders on recommendations to make chemical facilities safer, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has decided no improvements are needed. It leaves us asking the question then why do worker fatalities and injuries continue to happen in the chemical sector? 

WEC will continue to stand with our allies and be on the front lines making our voice heard. To that end, we are pleased to be part of a new national initiative led by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health to empower workers and end sexual harassment in the workplace through the new initiative "Our Turn". So far, more than 80 organizations have already signed on to the effort. I hope you will consider joining us by signing on to the Our Turn commitment to unity and action

In Unity,
Debra Coyle McFadden

P.S. SAVE THE DATE: Friday, November 30, WEC Annual Awards Dinner at The College of New Jersey  
WEC will once again be honoring a Rising Star, a new leader from a labor, community or environmental group, and we would like your help. Please consider nominating someone that deserves recognition. The deadline for nominations is Friday, July 27! 

#OurTurn to End Sexual Harassment on the Job

On June 26, New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) and New Labor joined a new alliance with janitors, factory workers, farmworkers and other low wage workers to launch “Our Turn,” a new alliance to put a halt to sexual abuse and harassment, with a special focus on low-wage and vulnerable workers.

“#MeToo ignited a mass movement of women standing up and saying enough is enough. For too long women have been harassed, coerced, and demeaned at work, often in organizations that have policies which protect their abusers,” said Debra Coyle McFadden, New Jersey Work Environment Council Acting Executive Director and National COSH Treasurer. “Through ‘Our Turn’ we will work with partners on local and national policies to protect all workers and ensure that we put an end to sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.”

Our Turn will unite workers, community allies and organizations across the country who are fighting –and winning – new protections against abuse and harassment in union contracts, state laws, municipal ordinances and company policies.

Our Turn was convened by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), the nation’s leading grassroots advocate for workplace safety.  Following a kickoff Assembly earlier this month, attended by more than 100 impacted workers and organizations,  80+ organizations and individuals have already signed on to the Our Turn “Commitment to Unity and Action.” 

Our Turn founding members are inviting the public and organizations to sign on and lend their support by visiting the website,

Oil Train Safety Bill Passes the Senate

The Oil Train Safety bill, S1883, has once again passed the NJ Senate. This bill requires an owner or operator of high hazard trains to have discharge response, cleanup and contingency plans when transporting certain hazardous materials by rail. It also requires training for emergency responders and the NJ Department of Transportation to request bridge inspection reports. Thank you to Senator Weinberg for your continuing effort to ensure communities have a Right to Know about chemical hazards.

WEC will continue to closely monitor the progress of the Oil Train Safety bill as it makes its way through the NJ Assembly. 

EPA RMP Amendments Repealed

After the deadly explosion at a West Texas fertilizer factory in 2013 that took the lives of fifteen people, including twelve emergency responders, President Obama issued an Executive Order on Improving Chemical Safety and Security. The amendments issued in early 2017 were more than three years in the making and was the culmination of work based on input from thousands of stakeholders including participants at a listening session in New Jersey. Now EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is proposing to rescind and gut the amendments and destroy years of work to enhance safety at chemical facilities. This rollback puts millions of people, and particularly facility fence line communities who are traditionally low-income communities and communities of color in harm's way.

WEC will be working with our partners in the national Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters to submit comments to this egregious rollback. Public comments are accepted through July 30. 

Public Need Over Corporate Greed:
Train-the-Trainer Recap

On May 31 and June 1, the Public Need over Corporate Greed Campaign hosted its 5th Runaway Inequality Trainer Apprenticeship Program. We now have over 90 trainers in New Jersey equipped to educate activists and working people on the economics that financial and political elites have convinced us are too complex for anyone but them to understand, and how those same elites have used this knowledge to prevent change. 

So far, these trainers have led workshops for over 1,000 activists in New Jersey alone.

Join our movement! Please contact campaign organizer Brandon Castro at to coordinate a training for your members or your community.

Jersey Renews Calls for
Electrification Now of NJ Transit Fleet

On Wednesday, June 13 the Jersey Renews coalition, represented by a crew of delegates from the broad and varied base of supporters, including WEC, testified at the NJ Transit board meeting. They advocated for electrification of the public fleet of buses and cleaner ports, citing public health, environmental, and economic benefits as key reasons to make the switch.

“Nearly 50% of greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey come from the transportation sector. It is critical that we secure a much bigger investment in electric vehicles from NJ Transit. New York City’s MTA, the largest bus fleet in the country, just announced that they will electrify their fleet by 2040 and Los Angeles will do the same by 2030,” said Norah Langweiler, WEC campaign organizer for Jersey Renews. “This is the time for NJ Transit to follow their example and make New Jersey a leader on clean transportation.” Read the press release here

Healthy Schools Now Student Leadership Academy

On May 25th, Healthy Schools Now hosted a State House Day and graduation ceremony in Trenton, NJ for the 21 graduates of the inaugural class of the Healthy Schools Now Student Leadership Academy.  Hailing from Paterson and Trenton, the 21 graduates completed the rigorous 6-month student leadership development program.  As a result of the academy, students are now equipped with skills in media outreach, coalition building, public speaking and a host of other skills necessary for effective advocacy and organizing. Congratulations to the graduates.

July 17: Prevent Chemical Exposures Training

Please join WEC on Tuesday, July 17 from 9:00 am - 12:30 pm to learn about Preventing Chemical Exposures. The training is FREE of charge and you will learn about assessing chemical hazards and understanding safety data sheets, identifying safety system failures, and OSHA's HazCom standard. 

Seating is limited and pre-registration is required.
Become a Member
Donate Now
Take Action
Preventing Exposure
To Workplace Chemicals

Tuesday, July 17


People's Climate March
Saturday, September 8

WEC Annual Awards Dinner
Friday, November 30
Individuals and organizations can join WEC & you may 
pay for your membership online.

New year, new membership. 
Please consider joining in 2018!
Prevent Silica Exposure
Newsletter June 30, 2018
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