workers rights

99 petitions

Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Charlie Baker, Massachusetts State Senate, Massachusetts State House

Disability for Firefighters with Parkinson's Disease due to toxins on the job. (MA H.1455)

  A fire can expose firefighters to millions of chemicals and toxins. We have become aware of the massive risks these toxins pose for first responders, who breathe them in, ingest them, and absorb them through the skin while putting their lives on the line. Most states have adopted “cancer presumptive laws,” meaning that if a firefighter gets cancer on the job, they are automatically awarded accidental disability to see them through their illness. But the increased rate of Parkinson’s Disease (PD), a degenerative brain disorder, in firefighters has mostly been ignored. I am a firefighter who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I am not alone -- while the rate of PD in the general population is 3 out of 1000, it is 30 out of 1000 for firefighters. I am young to be experiencing this disease, but that’s often how it works for emergency responders, and there is mounting evidence that our exposure to burning chemicals is the culprit. I have 12 years left until I reach retirement, and, unfortunately, I am not sure I'll be able to keep working that long. My state of Massachusetts has great presumptive laws for firefighters, not only for cancer, but for heart and lung disease as well. It is now time for our legislators to include Parkinson’s Disease among these illnesses. We cannot ignore the connection between toxic chemical exposure and PD anymore. While PD usually develops slowly among the general population, symptoms often hit firefighters fast, seemingly out of nowhere. Research now suggests that toxin-induced PD has a more rapid onset than genetic PD, another indicator that we are, indeed, contracting this illness on the job. For those of us struggling with Parkinson’s, walking, talking, grasping and even blinking become increasingly difficult tasks to accomplish. Needless to say, continuing to work as firefighters while battling this disease is most often not possible. Indiana recently became the first state to include Parkinson’s in its presumptive law. This has provided unimaginable relief to many firefighters, who were running out of sick time, and facing unemployment and massive medical bills due to their debilitating disease. We now must band together and demand that more states recognize the link between firefighting and PD, and include PD among the illnesses covered by their presumptive laws. Please sign this petition to include Parkinson's in Massachusetts’ presumptive law, which would allow firefighters with Parkinson's to retire on full accidental disability.

Greg Heath
53,289 supporters
Update posted 3 months ago

Petition to Andrea Willer, George Blumenthal, Sarah Latham

Reinstate UCSC Head Coaches Emily Scheese and Jamey Harris

On June 28, 2017 UC Santa Cruz Coaches Emily Scheese (women's soccer) and Jamey Harris (women/men's cross country and track/field) were unceremoniously fired by Andrea Willer, the head of OPERS. They were informed their employment contracts would not be renewed, and that in just 2 days they would lose their jobs, their pay, and their health insurance.  Neither was given any explanation for this life-changing decision, other than the administration had decided to "go in a different direction."  (At the bottom of this page, you can find links to articles in the Santa Cruz Sentinel that more fully describe the situation.) These firings are shocking and wrong-headed because both Jamey Harris and Emily Scheese were exemplary coaches along every dimension. They were recognized for coaching excellence by their peers across the country; both were three-time recipients of the "Coach of the Year" award from the NCAA Division III Association of Independents.   Jamey and Emily both brought their teams to great athletic success and markedly improved the competitive standing of their teams.   Both demanded academic excellence from their athletes, and led all of their teams to earn multiple Division III "All Academic Team" awards. Both Emily and Jamey were beloved by those they coached for helping them achieve new levels of athletic and personal growth, and for their efforts to make UCSC athletics more inclusive, diverse, and accessible by more students. Emily and Jamey both managed to provide great competitive experiences to their athletes on shoestring budgets.  None of their teams received enough UCSC funds to participate in all their scheduled competitions. So, to make up the shortfall, Emily and Jamey were also master fundraisers who took responsibility for raising all the money that their programs required. They were also creative geniuses in reducing costs to stay within budget. Neither Jamey nor Emily ever received any indication that the administration was not happy with their performance. All their past performance reviews were positive, and no one from the administration ever gave them any indication that they were unhappy with the direction where Emily and Jamey were taking their teams. Their teams are now without coaches, but the Cross Country and Soccer seasons begin in just 5 weeks. These athletes deserve better. In fact they deserve the best: Jamey and Emily. Firing them was a grave mistake by the UCSC administration, but it is not too late to reverse action and reinstate Jamey Harris and Emily Scheese to their Head Coach positions. To convince the administration, we must act quickly and be very persistent and vocal. Please join us. Sign this petition to ask UCSC administrators to immediately reinstate Emily Scheese as Head Coach for Women's soccer and Jamey Harris as Head Coach for Men's and Women's Cross Country and Men's and Women's Track & Field.  In signing the petition, PLEASE LEAVE A PERSONAL COMMENT. Describe how Emily or Jamey made a difference in your life.  Vouch for their expertise in their sport and their coaching skills. And if Emily or Jamey were part of why you chose UCSC, please say so in your comment. ************************ For more information, please refer to these articles in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.  Swift firings: UC Santa Cruz restructures its athletic program Coaches lodge complaints against UC Santa Cruz for Athletic department layoffs Letter: Staffing 'restructure' a huge blow to UCSC Letter: Students need more than just academics at UCSC Letter: UCSC firing of coaches a deceitful act 

Athena Del Rosario
1,282 supporters