workers rights

218 petitions

Update posted 4 weeks 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
53,243 supporters
Update posted 1 month 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
1,270 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Deer Valley Community

DVUSD cannot have board president that resorts to name calling!

Hello all. My name is Aude Odeh and I am a teacher at Barry Goldwater High School. On June 6th, 2017, I engaged my friend Nick Gearing and Ms. Kim Fisher on the political topic on twitter. The conversation back and forth quickly degraded into Ms. Fisher calling my statement of facts “bullshit” and shortly after that calling me an “anti American Trump Hating troll no matter what you say it is b*******”. The conversation between the two of us ended after this. As a Palestinian American Muslim, I have been called worse names in my life, but never anything like this from one of my superiors. I tried to let it roll off my back, but have since concluded that I will neither suffer this abuse nor fear any future retaliation at the hands of the DVUSD school board president! Although the conversation between the two of us ended in the morning, the conversation between Ms. Fisher and students, former students, community members, and parents raged on all day.  Ms. Fisher kept defending herself, calling herself a private citizen, invoking her freedom of speech, and denying the fact that her choice of language represents both districts she works for in a negative light, even though dozens of members of the DVUSD community spoke up to tell BOARD PRESIDENT so. Ms. Fisher proudly states in her bio that she works (and therefore represents) both Phoenix Union and Deer Valley.  No one had an issue with her political stance. She is allowed to think what she would like. What everyone did have a problem with was her rampant unprofessionalism. In her “apology” that she tweeted out (as she never really did apologize about her behavior and language towards me) Ms. Fisher claims that she did not reply as a DVUSD Board member and did not use profanity in that capacity. However, as a leader, she should know that her public statements negatively impacted the district. I proudly recognize that I am representing more than myself online, and I take steps to ensure my statements do not discredit my profession or negatively impact my ability to teach the students in the district.   She also claims that there was “no bullying or harassment from [me]”. I strongly, vehemently, stringently, FORCEFULLY, disagree! Name calling is something we learn is wrong in Elementary school.  Never once, in my political discourses online have I ever lowered myself to name calling, but it only took Ms. Fisher a few conversations to resort to name calling. What image does this send our students and the community that the President of our school board thinks this type of rhetoric is acceptable towards anyone, let alone an educator? Students, staff, and members of the DVUSD community deserve better than a board president who would sink so low as to attack teachers publicly on social media! As President of the Board, she MUST realize that her conduct in any public space (as her twitter account was public at the time) MUST be held to the highest of standards, just like every educator understands they must do the same. This District cannot have a BOARD PRESIDENT that resorts to name calling to express different opinions.     Here is visual evidence -

Aude Odeh
773 supporters