Forward, Not Back: Save Our Sensible Safeguards

Factsheets News Opinion Pieces

Save Our Safeguards

For decades, our state had enacted landmark environmental and worker protection policies. However, when Governor Christie took office during a severe recession, the political landscape changed abruptly. The Governor discredited and shrank the role of state government, often with bipartisan support.

Threats to safeguards arise from an approach which suggests that regulation "kills jobs" and growth. Save Our Safeguards (incorporating Forward, Not Back) is a campaign to maintain sensible safeguards and promote an alternative vision that environmental and workplace protections are needed and are good for our economy.

Campaign Goals:

  1. To protect and strengthen sensible public safeguards for our health and safety in our communities.
  2. Oppose new or resurgent threats to New Jersey's overall regulatory process.
  3. Maintain public support for specific safeguards, and particularly New Jersey's programs to ensure the right to know, prevent pollution and toxic catastrophes, and to protect whistleblowers.



August 1, 2012
Waivers for Sale! DEP's Auction Starts Today
Coalition asks Legislature to stop Governor Christie's Pay-to-Play Policies

August 6, 2012
State begins taking applications to waive environmental rules, angering activists
by Megan DeMarco

March 21, 2011 - Philadelphia Inquirer
Environmental Regulatory Shift in N.J. Draws Praise and Concern by Maya Rao

March 8, 2012 - Press Release
Environmental and Labor Groups Blast Gov. Christie for Waiver Rule

Press Release from labor and environmental organizations

Responding to issuance of a final rule by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) encouraging DEP to grant waivers to corporations seeking to avoid health and environmental safeguards, environmental and labor organizations issued a joint statement.

June 10, 2010 - NJ Spotlight
Spotlight: Oil Worker and Activist: John Pajak (WEC President) by Tom Johnson

June 9, 2010 - The Star Ledger
N.J. Coalition Petitions Lawmakers to Kill Bill Against Tougher Safety, Conservation, Health Rules by Brian Murray

June 9, 2010
Press Release from Save Our Sensible Safeguards

June 7, 2011
Press Release from Majority Leader Buono

Opinion Pieces

May 4, 2014 - The South Jersey Times
Polluting Our Air, Water, and Politics by Debra McFadden, Assistant Director, WEC and Doug O’Malley, Executive Director, Environment NJ and WEC board member.

April 25, 2014 - The Star-Ledger
Disasters Show Need for Stronger Safeguards by John Pajak, Vice President, Teamsters Local 877 & WEC President and Amy Goldsmith. Director, NJ Clean Water Action & WEC Board member.

October 21, 2013 - The South Jersey Times
Toxic Brews at Chemical Plants Could Trigger another Paulsboro-like Incident by Natasha Lavard, member, Paulsboro Action Committee and Debra McFadden, Assistant Director, WEC

July 9, 2013 - The Star Ledger
Senator Steve Sweeney can help stop New Jersey's Waiver Rule by Natasha Lavard, member of the Paulsboro Action Committee, and Denise Patel, former project coordinator, WEC

May 23, 2012 - The Times of Trenton
Opinion: Dow Chemical Fire in PA Exposes Risks of Undermining Safeguards by Cecelia Leto, Program Coordinator for NJ Work Environment Council

April 6, 2012 - Asbury Park Press
Opinion: Let's Stop Waiver Rule Benefiting Favored Few by Joyce Sagi, member of the Executive Board of the Union of Rutgers Administrators (AFT Local 1766) and the Board of Directors of the NJ Work Environment Council

March 31, 2012 - Courier Post (of Camden)
DEP Waiver Rule is a Threat by Debra Coyle McFadden, Assistant Director, WEC

March 7, 2012 - The Record
Opinion: Human Climate in NJ Sacrificed for Better Business Climate by Moriah Kinberg, Campaign Organizer, WEC

February 26, 2012 - The Star Ledger
Opinion: Governor Chris Christie's Corporate Waivers Jeopardize New Jersey by John Pajak, Vice President, Teamsters Local 877 & WEC President

January 13, 2012 - The Star Ledger
Opinion: Stronger Safeguards Needed in N.J. Hospitals, Nursing Homes by Ann Twomey, President, Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) and Chrystal Disant, Health and Safety Chair, HPAE Local 5004 and a member of the WEC Board of Directors

September 21, 2011 - The Star Ledger
Opinion: Corporate Efforts to Remove Workplace Safeguards Threaten Health, Safety, Quality of Life Opinion Piece by John Shinn, Director, District 4, United Steelworkers and a member of the WEC Board of Directors