June 25, 2015
The deadly hazards of Bakken crude oil shipments are of particular concern to residents of New Jersey, as thousands of these rail cars now pass through our towns in at least 11 counties.
A derailment in communities such as Edison, Woodbridge, Carteret, Perth Amboy or Linden would threaten hundreds of thousands of people and the environment. The vapors from a spill, even without a fire or explosion, pose a serious health risk, including exposure to cancer-causing benzene; toluene, which has been linked to nerve damage; and hydrocarbons that have been linked to lung damage.
There are two pieces of legislation that will be voted on by the Senate this Monday that will help protect New Jersey communities.
Please contact your Senator and tell them to vote yes on S2979 and SCR165.
S-2979 (Weinberg D-37/Gordon D-38) Requires owners of railroad bridges to submit annual bridge inspection records to the Department of Transportation.
SCR165 (Weinberg D-37/Sacco D-32) Urges Congress to pass "Crude-by-Rail Safety Act" which would strengthen safety measures for the transport of crude oil by rail to protect the environment, the public, and communities in America.
For more information on the hazards of Bakken crude oil by rail, download the WEC factsheet Bakken Crude Oil By Rail: New Dangers for Firefighters.
November 24, 2014
Did Republicans or Democrats running for Congress in the recent elections say, "Vote for me and I'll support global trade agreements that undermine jobs, wage levels, and environmental standards at home and abroad?"
Of course not. They knew they would be voted out if they ran on that platform.
Yet, Republican leaders and President Obama are saying after the election that they want to join together to pass a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with 11 other countries, along with so-called "fast track" authority that would let them ram it through.
TPP would be a massive agreement sought by Wall Street, the drug and chemical industries, and other huge corporations. It has two basic purposes:
So far the countries negotiating TPP include not only the U.S. but also such low-wage havens as Brunei, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, and Vietnam. The U.S. lead negotiator says the goal is to eventually include China as well.
The TPP is being negotiated in secret, except that more than 600 official corporate "trade advisors" have been given special access to help determine the final text.
Corporate officials now want Congress to pass "fast track" authority that would allow U.S. negotiators to present this secret deal for one up-or-down vote with no chance for the public to question specific provisions or for Congress to mandate amendments.
Together, labor, environmental, and community groups defeated fast track authority when Republicans and President Clinton tried to pass it in 1997, and we can defeat it again now.
Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and tell your U.S. Senators and member of the U.S. House of Representatives to oppose fast track authority and the TPP.
Tell them that international agreements should be designed to improve worker and environmental protections around the world, not to bring them down to the lowest level for the benefit of corporate special interests.
April 11, 2014
By Joan Verdon/The Record
Victim of Bangladesh factory collapse in demonstration at Secaucus Retailer
A garment worker who was trapped in the rubble of a collapsed Bangladesh factory last year joined about four-dozen labor activists Friday in urging Secaucus-based The Children's Place to increase its payments to victims of the disaster that killed more than 1,100 people.
View video from the demonstartion.
October 23, 2013
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Call Governor Christie at (609) 292-6000 and tell him attending school shouldn't make our children sick! It's time the Schools Development Authority (SDA) takes action to repair and modernize our schools. Download action flyer.
Under the Christie administration, school repairs, renovations and construction in the 31 designated high-priority districts have stalled, slowed and in some cases stopped, leaving students, educators and school staff to endure terrible conditions on a daily basis.
Healthy Schools Now, along with 43 organizations, including WEC, representing parents, school employees, students and other healthy schools advocates delivered a letter to Governor Christie asking him to take immediate action regarding the unsafe and poor conditions of our public schools and requesting repairs be made during the summer months.
To date, the Governor has not responded and urgent repairs remain incomplete.
Sample Message: I am a (parent/educator/resident) from (name of school & city) calling to express my disappointment with the lack of SDA action to repair and modernize our schools. Also share:
Join Healthy Schools Now on October 23 at 11 am on the Statehouse steps for a unique art exhibit entitled: A Blind Eye: The Immorality of Inaction.
July 18, 2013 - Governor Christie vetoed S1778 today. This bill would have helped to better protect and provide for medical care and treatment for all our first responders.Go to the HPAE website to read a statement from Ann Twomey, President, HPAE.
Read the Star Ledger Guest Opinion Piece Protect those Who Protect New Jerseyans written by Dominick Marino, President of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, Ann Twomey, President of Health Professionals and Allied Employees, and Ed Brannigan, President of the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police.
April 11, 2013 - On March 21st, the NJ State Appellate Court ruled to allow the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to issue waivers of important environmental and worker protections. THEY GOT IT WRONG!
But, our Legislators can still override the rule to ensure safeguards that will protect our environment and workplaces.
The DEP's waiver rule sets up a process to let wealthy corporations and individuals simply ignore the law. That's why twenty-eight labor and environmental organizations, including WEC, filed a lawsuit to block the DEP waiver rule.
Governor Christie's Executive Order #2 mandated every state agency to create waivers that would essentially allow them to deregulate themselves. The first agency to enact a waiver rule was the Department of Environmental Protection.
We need our Legislators to uphold safeguards that protect workers, communities, and the environment. Tell your Legislators to override the DEP waiver rule and all future waiver rules.
Sign a petition to save our safeguards now!
We, the undersigned, call on all NJ legislators to stand up for our families and communities and...
March 14, 2013 - Please help draw the line on wealthy corporations that risk our health and safety to squeeze even more profit.
Phillips 66 (formerly ConocoPhillips) is cutting firefighting personnel, training, and equipment that protect against the risk of fire and explosion at their massive Bayway refinery in Linden, NJ.
Phillips 66 had fourth-quarter profits from refining and marketing of $1 billion - five times higher than the previous year. It increased by 25% the dividends it pays to shareholders like Warren Buffett (the second richest man in the United States).
The refinery is right in the middle of a highly populated metropolitan area with airports, ports, and low income residential areas. You've no doubt been inside the refinery boundaries, since the NJ Turnpike runs through it.
The refinery produces petroleum products like gasoline that are extremely flammable. Effective fire protection is essential for both workers and surrounding neighborhoods.
Please sign and circulate the petition developed by Teamsters Local 877, which represents the Phillips 66 workers.
Phillips 66 executives are cutting the Fire Department at Bayway Refinery by 40%, eliminating firefighting training for the rescue squad, eliminating key personnel who keep the refinery running safely, refusing to repair bridges needed for firefighter access, and more.
These are the types of cuts that start refineries down the road to disaster. In a recent two-year period, there were at least 80 fires at 59 U.S. refineries. Last August, more than 14,600 people went to the hospital after a massive refinery fire in Richmond, California. U.S. refineries sustain losses from accidents at four times the rate of their counterparts in other countries, in part because of "pushing the operating envelope" and flaws in safety.
Meanwhile, Phillips 66 is "awash in cash" (according to Bloomberg News), as the difference between what refiners pay for crude oil and then charge for refined fuel has doubled in the past year and is the highest since 2005. Phillips 66 CEO, Greg Garland, makes more than $6 million per year - or nearly $3,000 an hour.
August 1, 2012 - Governor Christie is putting corporate special interests and his big campaign contributors ahead of the public interest. He has ordered all state agencies to issue rules to waive the safeguards they are supposed to enforce. These safeguards protect our health and safety at work; our air, water, and open spaces; and our rights as consumers.
Christie's political appointees will be able to let any chemical, oil, banking, insurance, drug, or development company violate our safeguards if they think it creates "an undue hardship."
We need to stop this policy in its tracks by getting the State Legislature to block the first agency's waiver rule.
1. Sign our petition to stop Governor Christie from waiving our safeguards!
2. Volunteer with NJ WEC to get more people to sign the petition or start your own petition drive by downloading the petition and flyer.