Newsletter September 14, 2016
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From the Executive Director's Desk

I was recently asked to answer some questions for a special piece the Asbury Park Press was running in honor of Labor Day. It's too bad they opted to give the Americans for Prosperity top billing, but one of the things I noted was the need for a strong unions to counterbalance corporate power. "In a time of unprecedented concentration of wealth and power among corporate and economic elites, we need the strong voices of organized labor to stand up for workers and communities."  

Well, the need for that counterbalance is perfectly illustrated by the disastrous Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, that some multinational corporations want to jam through Congress, possibly during the lame duck session. There are many troubling provisions to this agreement, notably investor-state dispute settlements, which would basically give corporations the right to challenge regulations and have decisions issued by corporate lawyers, not judges. TPP would be a disaster for environmental and health safeguards. Please join us in opposition to this terrible trade deal by calling your member of Congress today. Click here to call your member of Congress and help #StopTPP!
In Solidarity,
WEC Awards Dinner 
Friday, Nov. 18

Honoree Spotlight: Kelly Francis
WEC is pleased to announce that  Colandus “Kelly” Francis, President, Camden County Branch, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will be among the honorees at our 30th Anniversary Celebration and Annual Awards Dinner on Friday, November 18. Kelly and his family members have lived in the Parkside area of Camden for the past 45 years. Kelly is being honored for his lifelong commitment to fighting for social and environmental justice in Camden. Kelly is a long-standing member of the Board of Directors of the NJ Work Environment Council (WEC), and chairman of the board of directors of the Fair Share Housing Center. See his full bio here
NJ School Districts Should Think Before Privatizing Custodial Services
NJ Spotlight recently ran our op-ed on privatization of school services, authored by Jerell Blakeley, WEC's campaign organizer for the Healthy Schools Now Coalition. "With the average age of New Jersey's public schools at more than 50 years old and with many schools dating back to the turn of the 20th century, we are concerned that custodian privatization will have negative ramifications for the quality of our school facilities," Blakeley wrote.
Take Our Membership Survey 
We have put together a brief survey about our programs and membership and would welcome your participation and comments. Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey so we can plan for future initiatives and continue working to create safe, secure jobs and a healthy, sustainable environment. 
Save the Date!
 WEC Membership Meeting
December 5, 2016
NJEA Headquarters
180 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 

Meet WEC's New
Industrial Hygienists 

WEC has added two industrial hygienist consultants to our team who are available to assist you with questions and issues.

Pam Susi has worked as an industrial hygienist since 1991 and served as the Exposure Assessment Program Director for the Center for Construction Research and Training for 23 years. She has investigated teachers who were exposed to methanol that led to policy changes in North Carolina schools. 

Uday Singh is an industrial hygienist with a focus on environmental health quality in the built/indoor environment. Since 1969, Singh has investigated and managed a wide range of environmental concerns (asbestos, microbiological contamination, chemical spills and mercury) impacting the built environment. Singh investigated mercury contamination in Lower Manhattan after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. 

Please contact Debra Coyle McFadden if you need technical assistance from our industrial hygienists.  
Workplace Violence Standards

WEC has signed onto the National COSH letter asking OSHA to issue a workplace violence standard for healthcare workers. While some employers are voluntarily trying to address this issue, a uniform standard is necessary to prevent workplace violence. According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were over 400 homicides in U.S. workplaces in 2014, accounting for 8.6 percent of all workplace fatalities due to traumatic incidents. 

Cecelia Gilligan Leto, WEC's Project Director, wants you to know that, " In 2015, OSHA released a 50 page guidance document of the latest best practices to prevent violence called Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers. The guidelines are a great start, but they are not regulations or directives that must be followed, nor enforceable on its own merit. I don’t think the general public realizes that healthcare workers are threatened, hit, bitten, have items thrown at them, and have been permanently injured or even killed taking care of others. Workplace violence regulations will compel employers to address this problem or face an OSHA citation with financial penalties."

It is time for OSHA to take action! 
Need a speaker for an upcoming event, meeting, or training conference on workplace, environmental, or school safety issues? WEC staff would love to help. Contact Cecelia Gilligan Leto for more information.
Become a Member
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As a reminder, individuals and organizations can join WEC and you may pay for your membership online.

If you aren't yet a member, please join today!

WEC is looking for a fall intern. Please share the announcement with anyone who might be interested!
Copyright © 2016 NJ Work Environment Council, All rights reserved.

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