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Charlene Obernauer
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Charlene Obernauer is an activist and writer living in New York City. She is the Executive Director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), which advocates for safe and healthy jobs for all of New York's workers. NYCOSH is a membership-based organization of workers, unions, community groups, health and legal professionals, and other activists.

Charlene previously served as the Executive Director of Long Island Jobs with Justice and was a co-founder of the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union and the Community/Farmworker Alliance in New York City.

Entries by Charlene Obernauer

On Wal-Mart's Watch: A Seemingly Endless Health and Safety Catastrophe

(0) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 12:03 PM

It's been nearly seven years since a security guard, Jdimytai Damour died from being trampled to death by over-eager New Yorkers desperate to access the Wal-Mart's Black Friday shopping deals. Finding Wal-Mart at fault, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a $7,000 citation to the...

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"Greening" NYC Nail Salons for Customers and Workers

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 4:29 PM

As beach season in New York comes to a close, so too does the most popular season for manicures and pedicures: which is both good news and bad news for some of New York City's nail salon workers. While a slower salon season might mean less customers and less money...

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'Obamacare' vs. 'Affordable Care Act': Why Words Matter

(67) Comments | Posted October 4, 2013 | 1:36 PM

Both Republicans and Democrats understand the power of language. Most recently, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) shared their concerns on a hot mic over whose message (willing to compromise or not) polls better -- Democrats or Republicans. The struggle over choosing words...

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From Wendy's to Walmart: Workers Fight for Our Future

(15) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 3:57 PM

All across the country, workers from Wendy's to Walmart are protesting for better working conditions. Most recently, U.S. workers took part in a nationwide strike at fast food restaurants in 60 cities. Their demands were simple: increase wages to $15 an hour, protect the right to...

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The Best Part of DOMA's Repeal: Its Impact on Immigration Reform

(5) Comments | Posted June 29, 2013 | 4:50 PM

The day that the Defense of Marriage Act was repealed will be a moment that many of us in the GLBT community will remember for the rest of our lives. I'll remember where I was when I heard the news, driving in my car to work, listening while a local...

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What's the Point of Pride Marches?

(14) Comments | Posted June 19, 2013 | 6:55 PM

In the United States, LGBT rights activists have put on pride parades since 1970, when the day of protest was called "gay liberation" day. The first parade was planned for the last Sunday of June: the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which has been called

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Gang of 8: Dreamers Deserve Financial Aid

(23) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 7:00 PM

For those of us who have been advocating for a good immigration reform bill, we're excited to be one step closer to a relatively sensible piece of legislation. The bi-partisan bill is the result of true compromise: a lot of good, some bad and a little ugly.


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Minimum Wage Deal a Mixed Bag for Workers

(0) Comments | Posted March 22, 2013 | 11:22 AM

On Thursday, Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders passed the 2013-2014 budget, which proved to be a mixed bag for working New Yorkers. Advocates spent the last few years working on a minimum wage hike in New York, and were encouraged when Governor Cuomo included a minimum wage increase in his...

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Hate the Fare Hike? Act Now to Stop Another in 2015

(9) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 6:41 PM

Transit riders are feeling the pinch of the recent MTA fare hike and are looking for someone to blame. Some are pointing their fingers at MTA executives for their $250,000+ salaries; others are blaming transit workers, who earn an honest living of around $60,000 a year....

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Cuomo: Don't Retreat on Minimum Wage

(15) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 7:04 AM

Since becoming governor, support for Cuomo has wavered among progressive Democrats. We hate his attack on pensions, but like his support for green jobs. We love his leadership on campaign finance reform, but are skeptical of his position on hydrofracking. But despite our skepticism, we know...

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Pandering to Latino Voters Won't Help GOP

(19) Comments | Posted February 10, 2013 | 7:42 PM

Throughout the 2012 elections, the Republican Party was becoming more and more extreme. With people like Donald Trump questioning the validity of Obama's birth certificate and Rick Santorum threatening women's right to birth control, most of the American public was disgusted. While Romney himself...

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Protect Us, Don't Arrest Us: The Case for Progressive Immigration Reform

(11) Comments | Posted February 5, 2013 | 1:37 PM

Over the past week, immigrant rights advocates have had their share of excitement and disappointment. From anxiously awaiting Obama's speech on immigration reform, to hearing him call immigrants who cross the border "illegal," advocates are optimistic and critical, intrigued and afraid. We want progressive immigration reform that we...

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