From the Executive Director's Desk

It is officially budget season in New Jersey. In a guest column by Governor Murphy that ran this past Sunday in the Star-Ledger, the Governor states the budget is about "building a stronger and fairer New Jersey."

WEC and allies will be engaged on the budget to ensure it reflects our priorities, such as investing in infrastructure, schools, New Jersey Transit and ensuring our state agencies have the necessary resources for appropriate staffing levels to ensure our agencies can operate effectively. We are also calling on the Governor to stop raiding the Clean Energy Fund and put an end to privatizing our natural resources such as parks.

Also, ICYMI a new report by the Army Corp of Engineers released a report last week that estimates New Jersey costal towns could face up to to $1.6 billion in annual damages from storms and flooding caused by climate change and sea level rise. Atlantic City is projected to be hit the hardest with an estimated annual damage of $324 million. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is exploring the creation of a panel to consider if climate change is a threat. 

Here in New Jersey we are taking steps to combat climate change. WEC is a founder and partner in the Jersey Renews coalition working on state based policy solutions to this global problem. Most recently, WEC stood with partners including the Amalgamated Transit Union on February for Transit Equity Day. The event was held in Paterson City with Mayor Andre Sayegh, where we called for affordable public transportation and the need to electrify the transportation sector as an important step to improving public health and lowerng greenhouse gas emissions. Here is a short two minute video from the event. 


Debra Coyle McFadden
Executive Diretcor

Op-Ed: Invest in Environment and Infrastructure,
Not Corporate Welfare

It has been more than a year since the Christie administration ended, but it turns out it left one last surprise for New Jersey’s workers and taxpayers, according to an audit released by the New Jersey State Comptroller in January. The report states that, under former Gov. Chris Christie, the Economic Development Authority (EDA) gave away billions of dollars in tax credits to some of the most profitable corporations in the world through an $11-billion dollar series of tax-subsidy programs. Tax-subsidy programs typically offer tax breaks to businesses, large and small, with stipulations that they create or retain local jobs. This is corporate welfare at its most visible and the results are seldom substantial. Case in point: The EDA under Christie found that the 1,000 applicants for tax cuts estimated 161,804 new jobs would be created and 80,027 jobs would be retained in New Jersey.
The comptroller’s report, however, found a severe lack of oversight. Corporations were, in most situations, allowed to self-report, and often manipulated or obscured details in order to inflate their contributions to our economy: “In 24 of the 37 sampled projects, about 65%, we found close to 3,000 recipient-reported jobs that were not affirmed as having been created or retained.” It is estimated that one in five jobs were not substantiated. Read more from the op-ed.

Oil Train Safety Bill is Stalled on the Tracks

The Oil Train Safety bill, A3783/S1883, passed the Senate last June with bipartisan support, but has had no movement in the Assembly.
As more crude oil trains traverse New Jersey, this bill is needed now more than ever.

WEC and allies will continue to champion this bill which would require more transparency about high hazard trains moving through New Jersey, discharge and clean up plans to be filed with the state and training for emergency responders.

The passage of this bill is a priority for WEC and we are committed to  get this bill to the Governor's desk this legislative session. 

Richard Mendelson Named Acting Regional Administrator for OSHA

With the retirement of OSHA Region 2 Administrator Bob Kulick earlier this month, Richard Mendelson is the Acting Regional Administrator for OSHA for Region 2. 

Richard began his career at OSHA in 1988. He served as Director of OSHA’s Manhattan Area Office from 2000 until 2009 and as a Safety Technician and Compliance Officer in the Long Island Area Office before being promoted to the Regional Office in 1996. At various times, Richard was the Regional Construction Coordinator as well as co-chairing the Regional Emergency Management Committee, and has served details in the Philadelphia Regional Office and the Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Programs.

WEC look forward to the opportunity to work with Regional Administrator Mendelson in his new role.

NJ School Funding is Critical
for Student Success

WEC's Healthy Schools Now organizer authored an op-ed with Rosie Grant from Paterson Education Fund highlighting school facilities infrastructure problems in SDA districts, formerly Abbott Districts. The agency tasked with addressing school facility condiitions is out of money to tackle new projects. From the op-ed, "until new funding is authorized by the state, students and staff in the state will continue to be exposed to unhealthy, unsafe conditions."

We couldn't agree more.

$15 Minimum in New Jersey

On February 4, Governor Murphy signed legislation to raise the New Jersey minimum wage in the Garden State to $15 an hour by 2024. 

For decades the real wages of lower-income workers in the United States have been stagnant. The result has been the high social cost of food insecurity, poverty, and difficulty in access to healthcare. This bold step from New Jersey policy makers is an affirmation that a living wage is an indispensable part of creating healthy, sustainable communities in the Garden State.

Read WEC's statement on the $15 minimum wage.

Marcal Paper Plant Destroyed by Fire

On January 30, a nine alarm blaze destroyed the Marcal Paper plant in Elmwood Park leaving up to 500 workers, including more than 400 United Steelworkers members without employment. Last week  there was another fire at Marcal in the only remaining building. The cause of either fire has not been released.
Thankfully, no workers or emergency responders were injured. The NJ Department of Labor and Workforce held a job fair for the Marcal workers and the United Steelworkers are working to place their members.

Preventing Workplace Violence 

Workplace Violence can strike anywhere; no workplace or worker is immune. Nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year. Unfortunately, many more cases go unreported.  

WEC can provide FREE onsite training to employers and workers on recognizing hazardous conditions that lead to workplace violence, improving workplace prevention programs, and effective workplace violence committees. 

Have questions? Want to schedule a training? Please contact: Cecelia Leto at (609) 882-6100 ext. 308 or via email at
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Indoor Air Quality Training
PEOSH has arranged three training sessions in April to provide assistance to public employers in meeting the Designated Persons Training requirements contained in the PEOSH Indoor Air Quality Standard. WEC, along with NJEA and Healthy Schools Now, is a co-sponsor. Click here for more information and to register for this FREE training.
  • Saturday, April 6, 9am – 1pm: Burlington Fire Academy, 53 Academy Drive Westampton, NJ 08060
  • Saturday, April 13, 9am – 1pm: Camden County Vo-Tech, 340 Berlin Cross Keys Road, Sicklerville, NJ 08081
  • Saturday, April 27, 9am -1pm: Bergen County Fire & Law Academy, 281 Campgaw Road, Mahwah, NJ 07430
NJ Safe Patient Handling Conference Best Practices 2019
Tuesday, March 19, 7:30am - 4:30pm
Rutgers University Bush Campus Center
Registration Fee: $125
Register Here
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Industrial Hygiene Consultant
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Workplace Violence PSA
Newsletter March 2019
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