The Fight for A Higher Minimum Wage
Blackwood, NJ-Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01) today unveiled his plans for a graduated $15 an hour federal minimum wage.
“No one who works full-time should live in poverty. But that’s exactly what we’re seeing all around us. Working families are struggling to pay the bills and the reason is our low minimum wage,” said Rep. Norcross at a news conference at Camden County College, Gloucester Township Campus.
Even working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, earning the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour puts a single parent and her child under the federal poverty threshold. And New Jersey’s $8.38 an hour puts that same family far below living wage put forth by anti-poverty advocates.
“It’s time to give these Americans a fighting chance. $15 an hour will put them closer to financial independence,” added Rep. Norcross.
The Norcross wage plan would call for a $.75 cent increase this year, and then a $1 increase every year after that up to $15. The federal minimum wage increase would be tied to the rate of inflation, as it currently is in New Jersey.
A key provision of the plan is a payroll tax cut for small businesses that raise workers’ wages ahead of schedule and get to $15 before the timeline laid out in the bill.
“A family of two trying to make ends meet on the current minimum wage is living below the poverty line set by the federal government,” said Camden County Freeholder Jonathan Young. “Currently, there are nearly one million people across New Jersey living below this benchmark and that needs to change. I’m happy to support Congressman Norcross in his pursuit to change the status quo to improve wages for everyday working Americans and the residents of Camden County.”
Rep. Norcross was joined by South Jersey elected, religious and social justice leaders, including representatives from the Camden Catholic Diocese and the Gloucester County NAACP for today’s announcement, as well as struggling workers.
“I spend each day caring for your loved ones. I just want to go home at the end of the day and care for my own family without worrying about how I’m going to pay the bills,” said Gynene Jonas, a certified nursing assistant and single mother of a 6-year-old girl who earns more than the federal and New Jersey minimum wages, but still nearly half of what a living wage in New Jersey should be for a family of two.
“Americans like Gynene are working harder, but aren’t being paid for it. Worker productivity is up 74% over the last four decades. But hourly compensation is up only 9%. The CEOs of the large corporations are taking home 74,000% more than an American worker making minimum wage. It’s time to take an honest look at the math and give these workers fair day’s pay for a full day’s work,” said Rep. Norcross.
Rep. Norcross now takes his fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage to Congress, where he’s already advocated for higher compensation and improved conditions for America’s workers.
“This is good for America. When people earn more, they spend it and that stimulates the economy. And when they earn more, they’re less likely to rely on government assistance,” added Rep. Norcross. “Most importantly, it’s the right thing to do for our friends and neighbors who deserve a pay raise.”
You can follow Rep. Norcross in his push for a higher minimum wage on Twitter using the hashtag #RaiseTheWage
Congressman Donald Norcross is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Budget Committee, and serves as Assistant Whip in the 114th Congress.