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Ellen Widess
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Ellen Widess

Ellen has worked on the issue of labor rights of low wage workers and immigrants as a regulator, academic, funder, and policy advocate. Most recently, she served as chief of Cal/OSHA, ensuring that all employers provide a safe and healthy workplace for their workers. As senior program officer for the Rosenberg Foundation, Ellen was a leader in the philanthropic world on issues of immigrant rights, immigrant integration and immigration reform and labor protection. In her academic positions at University of California Berkeley and University of Texas Law School, Ellen taught occupational safety and health, environmental law and policy and toxic torts. She ran Texas’ Pesticide Regulatory Program and was director of UC Berkeley’s Workers’ Compensation Program and Worker Health and Safety Training. She also authored recommendations to Federal OSHA and Centers for Disease Control on reform of the nation’s child labor laws. She founded and directed Lead Safe California, a nonprofit dedicated to building consensus among diverse private and public stakeholders in California about protective standards and policies to prevent childhood lead poisoning, protect workers and preserve affordable housing. Ellen has a bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. She is on the advisory board of the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Law School.

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