The New Jersey State AFL-CIO thanks and praises Gov. Philip D. Murphy and state Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo for forging mandatory workplace health and safety standards for all employers as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the state and nation.
The state labor federation also thanks to our IBEW Brother Donald Norcross, member of Congress from the 1st District, for his continuing advocacy for workers on the federal level, where the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has failed in its duty to protect working men and women doing essential work during the pandemic.
“The Labor Movement has pressed OSHA since the start of the pandemic for emergency safety standards,” Charles Wowkanech, President of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, said. “Even after the AFL-CIO sued, OSHA did nothing to safeguard the lives and health of frontline workers in every sector of labor. All of these heroes cared for the sick and lonely and kept the economy alive and the supply chain moving by going to work every day despite a deadly virus.
“In workplaces all over New Jersey,” President Wowkanech continued, “essential workers have been doing their jobs without adequate PPE. We’re grateful to Governor Murphy, Commissioner Asaro-Angelo, and Congressman Norcross for stepping up for working families when the federal government would not.”
Murphy’s Executive Order 192 goes into effect Nov. 5. It will require all employers, private and public sectors alike, to keep everyone at a worksite at least six feet apart and to mandate masks for all. Employees must be given health checks daily, and those who are sick should be sent home on leave, as appropriate.
Employers must notify their staff immediately if there is a COVID-19 breakout.
All surfaces and other areas that are touched regularly must be sanitized regularly. Employers also must provide free sanitization materials to employees and visitors, and ensure they all have time to use them regularly.
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Department of Health are establishing employer enforcement mechanisms and will inform workers of their rights.