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Board of Directors
Brian T. Mitchell, President
Brian T. Mitchell is the Executive Director of New Hampshire Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NH COSH). He was the former Executive Board Chair for NH COSH for more than 10 years before becoming the current director. His long career with labor unions, contract negotiations, and the struggles of the blue-collar working man and woman spans for more than 34 years. Brian’s extended education came through his involvement with labor unions, most notably the Harvard Trade Union Program, the George Meany Center, and the National Labor College. Brian has been very active in labor and community service organizations including: the NH AFL-CIO Board, Manchester Labor Council, the Manchester United Way Executive Board, AFSCME Council 93 Board, Chairperson of SEIU 1984’s Road Race Committee, past President of AFSCME Local 298. Currently he coaches children for Little League Baseball and for the Instructional Football League, in addition, he serves on the Granite State Organizing Project’s (GSOP) Executive Board, the Manchester Chapter of GSOP, the Worker Rights Network, and the NH Occupational Health Surveillance Advisory Committee. Brian’s extensive involvement with labor unions has given him the edge in understanding the workers’ struggles for safe and healthy workplaces. He continues to be involved in legislative initiatives that target worker health and safety. Brian is a member of UAW Local 1981.
Cecelia Gilligan Leto, Vice President
Cecelia Gilligan Leto is a Project Coordinator for the New Jersey Work Environment Council (NJWEC) focusing on safe and healthy workplaces. As program coordinator for NJWEC, Cecelia has provided quality participatory training to over 1800 workers from 43 unions, facilities, and organizations. She is an authorized OSHA trainer for 10 and 30-hour courses, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Labor Safety and Health. Prior to working at NJWEC, from 1999 through 2005, she served as Health and Safety Project Coordinator and Assistant Training Coordinator for Rutgers University Occupational Training and Education Consortium in New Brunswick, NJ. In those capacities, she coordinated curriculum development, specialized in participatory training, and facilitated 12 train-the-trainer programs addressing a wide variety of workplace hazards. From 1981 to 2000, she was a Communication Specialist for AT&T in Mercerville, NJ. During her time with AT&T, she represented over 300 AT&T workers by holding numerous positions with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). These positions included Vice President of CWA Local 1000, chairperson of the joint labor/management safety and health committee, and national mini-transition team coordinator. In 2008, Cecelia received the Health Professionals and Allied Employees union Heroes of Healthcare Award for her exceptional training of their members.
Gail Bateson, Secretary
Gail Bateson joined Worksafe as Executive Director in 2009. She has worked for various unions, labor support organizations and government agencies on workplace health and safety issues over the last 30 years. This includes occupational safety and health policy, program development, curriculum development, and training in many areas of occupational health, with special interest in disciplines that focus on early detection and elimination of hazards through human factors, process safety, workplace organization, and expanded workers’ rights. Inspired initially by an internship with the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW), she spearheaded the creation of the Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP), which she led from 2004 to 2009 while also working in the Occupational Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health. Gail has also worked for the International Chemical Workers Union and the UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program.
Al Vega is the Healthy Schools Coordinator at MassCOSH, the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health. For over 10 years, Mr. Vega has worked primarily in the youth development field with a focus on strengthening the skills and leadership of Boston area teens through history to become more engaged citizens in their communities. He joined MassCOSH in 2009 in an administrative role and quickly got involved in many of MassCOSH’s programs (Teens Lead @ Work & the Worker Center) through health and safety trainings (hazard & body mapping, worker rights, etc.) and campaigns that directly impacted the most vulnerable workers from all walks of life across the city and state. Most recently, he has worked to make immediate change in schools and HeadStart buildings through the Healthy Schools Initiative. He has extensive experience working with coalitions (unions, community orgs, state and city agencies) which are crucial to MassCOSH’s work and is key to Healthy Schools program that includes many aspects of environmental health including: reduction of asthma triggers, Integrated Pest Management, improving indoor air quality and the formation of environmental health committees that ensure this work is being done by individuals in these buildings while working to replicate this model in the larger school district. Al is a member of the United Steel Workers Local 9358.
Maureen La Mar serves as New York COSH’s Associate Director, helping to direct the organization’s day-to-day activities and long-range planning. Her responsibilities include: developing and coordinating advocacy campaigns; training and education programs, and other NYCOSH initiatives. She came to NYCOSH in early 2008 with 20 years of experience in the labor movement, starting as a rank-and-file activist. Her accomplishments include creating and directing worker education programs for unions that include TWU Local 100, 1199SEIU, the former ILGWU, and UNITE HERE! at TWU Local 100, which represents workers in the New York City subway and bus systems, Maureen was also instrumental in establishing and running a training fund. Her achievements additionally include the creation of a literacy program for hospital workers at risk of losing their jobs, and a model, multi-tiered program in which classes in ESL and industry skills became a vehicle for garment workers to become more engaged with their union and to take leadership roles.
Steve Schrag first started to get involved in worker safety issues while conducting corporate research and improving workplace and environmental protections for worker exposure to asbestos and polyvinyl chloride in the United States flight industry. He began work with Connecticut COSH by engaging workers and the community on the Right to Know Campaign in the early 1980s. After attending a train the trainer program by the Division of Worker Education, Steve lobbied for the protection of worker legal rights from cancer causing chemicals, against cuts in workers compensation, new protections for workers right to act, and increased scrutiny of Union Carbide after the Bhopal disaster. Steve has been a community organizer and union member and now works for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as a hazmat program coordinator.
Shirley Alvarado-del Aguila
Shirley Alvarado-del Aguila, also known as "Sumaq", was born in Iquitos, Peru. She studied in her homeland and the United States. Over the past 8 years, she has gained experience as an organizer and advocate in different states such as New York, Arizona and California working with marginalized and underserved communities. Sumaq is a Communicator with a specialization in Social Development. As a Communicator, she's deeply committed to social justice. Her work is driven by her passion and belief in the ability of individual reconstruction with the overall goal of improving social conditions in the community. Sumaq joined the Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (SoCalCOSH) in March 2011 and the National COSH Board in October 2011.