Congressman Norcross-Led Raise the Wage Act Passes House with Bipartisan Support, Yes Votes From *Every* New Jersey Representative
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross – a former minimum-wage worker and member of the House Committee on Education and Labor – voted in favor of the Raise the Wage Act, of which he is a lead sponsor. After more than 10 years without an increase in the federal minimum wage – the longest stretch in history – fulltime working Americans have been suffering. If the Raise the Wage Act becomes law, minimum-wage workers would see an increase to $15 an hour gradually by 2025.
“Today is a good day for America’s workers. The House of Representatives finally voted for the first time in more than a decade to lift fulltime workers out of poverty and I want to specifically thank every single one of New Jersey’s representatives for standing up for working families,” said Congressman Norcross, an electrician by trade. “I’ve worked for minimum wage and I was once a young single dad raising my son and having to balance work, family life and a checkbook. Back then it was hard. Today, for far too many Americans, it's nearly impossible. When people finally receive $15 an hour, they’ll spend more, become less reliant on government assistance and give our economy a needed boost.”
VIDEO: Norcross urges colleagues to raise the wage directly ahead of the House Vote
“Today, we couldn’t be more proud of Congressman Donald Norcross, members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation, organized labor and progressive activists for their persistence and dedication,” said Charles Wowkanech, President of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “Anyone who works a full-time job should be able to provide their family with the basic necessities—shelter, food, clothing—and a $15 minimum wage will, no doubt, help lift America’s workers out of poverty. We did it in New Jersey – and now it’s time for American to do the right thing for working people and the smart thing for our economy.”
“Thanks to the tireless work of Congressman Norcross, we’re celebrating our country’s first step in the path toward raising the standard of living for low- and middle-wage workers in more than a decade,” said Laurel Brennan, Secretary-Treasurer of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “Now, we need the Senate to follow the House’s lead and the state of New Jersey’s lead and lift millions of Americans out of poverty.”
Norcross added: “I encourage anyone who is opposed to raising the minimum wage to try living off $7.25 an hour. You just can’t. Wages have been stagnant for far too long and Americans know it’s time to seize the momentum and raise the wage. New Jersey took action, the House just took action and now the ball is in the Senate’s court. Raising the minimum wage has now passed with bipartisan support 23 times in our nation’s history and my colleagues on the other side of the Capitol should keep up that precedent and vote to give working families a fair shot.”
“First & foremost for me is raising wages”
Norcross has a long history of fighting to raise wages. He fought day in and day out to ensure South Jersey workers had good-paying jobs as a business agent for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 351 and as president of the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO. In the New Jersey state legislature from 2009-2013, he was part of the successful fight to raise the minimum wage.
Norcross introduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2019 with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Bernie Sanders and the Democratic leadership team in January and voted for its passage in the House Committee on Education and Labor in March.
Norcross was also an original sponsor of the Raise the Wage Act of 2017 and, in New Jersey, days after Governor Phil Murphy was elected, Norcross brought him together with Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin for their first public appearance together to call for a $15 an hour state minimum wage. By 2024, New Jersey’s floor will be $15 an hour.
The Raise the Wage Act:
- Gradually raises the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour over the next six years to lift millions of workers out of poverty, stimulate local economies and restore the value of minimum wage, and
- Indexes future increases in the federal minimum wage to median wage to ensure the value of minimum wage does not once again erode over time.
- Norcross reacts to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the Raise the Wage Act on July 8, 2019.
- As New Jersey’s minimum wage rose from $8.85 an hour to $10 an hour on July 1, 2019, Norcross marked the occasion by talking about living wages and calling on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage.
- Norcross voted in favor of the Raise the Wage Act in the House Committee on Education and Labor on March 6, 2019.
- Norcross applauded New Jersey’s $15 minimum wage agreement on January 17, 2019.
- Norcross and a bicameral group of colleagues introduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2019 on January 16, 2019.
- Norcross was unanimously elected to serve as Vice Chair and Liaison to Labor for Congressional Progressive Caucus in the 116th Congress, and said he looks forward to making certain that “every person has the dignity of a good-paying job” on November 29, 2018.
- In an op-ed in Roll Call reacting to the news that Amazon is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour, Norcross wrote “Amazon is taking a step in the right direction, and it is well past time for Congress to follow suit” on October 12, 2018.
- Norcross and three of his colleagues issued the findings of their “Future of Work, Wages and Labor” initiative on September 5, 2018.
- Norcross applauded Governor Murphy’s prioritization of raising wages in an op-ed in The Star Ledger on July 22, 2018.
- Norcross, NJ Governor-Elect Phil Murphy, NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney and NJ Assembly Speaker-Designee Craig Coughlin stood with labor leaders and workers to call on all levels of government to raise wages for hardworking American families on November 20, 2017.
- Norcross reacted to the announcement that Target will raise minimum wage on September 25, 2017.
- Norcross published an op-ed in The Record titled “When they go low, we go higher wages” on September 9, 2017.
- Norcross hosted colleagues in South Jersey for a day-long forum on ‘The Future of Work, Wages and Labor’ on August 4, 2017.
- Norcross expressed strong support for the new Democratic agenda ‘A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future' on July 24, 2017.
- Eight years after the last federal minimum wage increase, Norcross called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage at a news conference with a bicameral group of lawmakers and low-wage workers on July 25, 2017.
- Norcross and all of House Education and the Workforce Committee Democrats urged Chairwoman Virginia Foxx to hold a full Committee hearing on the Raise the Wage Act in a letter on July 24, 2017.
- Norcross wrote “first and foremost for me is raising wages” in an op-ed Sunday, July 23, 2017.
- Norcross reacted to the study showing Seattle’s $15 an hour minimum wage law has boosted pay for restaurant workers without costing jobs on June 21, 2017.
- Norcross and colleagues introduced the Raise the Wage Act on May 25, 2017.
- Norcross was appointed to serve on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on January 5, 2017.