Charlene Obernauer

Charlene Obernauer became NYCOSH’s executive director in January 2014. In her role as director, she oversees and develops the NYCOSH’s campaigns and advocacy work; bringing an innovative vision to NYCOSH that incorporates research, education, training, coalition building, and member development in order to create healthier jobs in New York State. She is the co-founder of the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition, a project founded by NYCOSH and Adhikaar; which successfully advocated with NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo for the passage of statewide legislation to combat wage theft and mitigate safety and health hazards in nail salons.

Charlene was appointed to the Manhattan Borough President’s Construction Safety Task Force in 2015, created after a spike in NYC construction fatalities that same year. She also heralded the release of NYCOSH’s annual report on construction fatalities in New York, highlighting the disproportionate number of immigrant workers killed and the need to protect the NYS Scaffold Safety Law.

Prior to joining NYCOSH’s staff, Charlene served as executive director of Long Island Jobs with Justice. During her seven-year tenure at the organization, she tripled its budget and initiated a number of organizing projects including a bus riders’ union and a campaign to organize Wal-Mart workers. She got her start in organizing through solidarity work with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a group of farmworkers in Southern Florida.

Charlene sits on the advisory councils of the downstate occupational health clinics and is the co-chair of New Immigrant Community Empowerment. Charlene has been featured in numerous publications, including MSNBC, the New York Times, ABC, CNN, Fox News, and many more and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. She is a graduate of Stony Brook University.

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