Taking The Next Step in Fight for America's Workers
Washington, DC-Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01) today introduced the Fair Wage Act of 2016 in the U.S. House of Representatives, aimed at increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Also today, Rep. Norcross joined New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald as they proposed a constitutional amendment to gradually raise the minimum wage in New Jersey to $15 an hour.
“Americans are working harder and putting in more hours—but all that work isn’t reflecting in their paychecks. That needs to change. And earning just $7.25 an hour is pushing many of our friends and neighbors deeper into poverty and financial crisis,” said Rep. Norcross.
Today’s action comes on the heels of a news conference last month at Camden County College in Blackwood, in which Congressman Norcross laid out his plan to help lift American workers out of poverty by providing a graduated minimum wage increase of $.75 cents this year and $1 every year after that up to $15. The federal minimum wage would be tied to the rate of inflation.
Congressman Norcross met directly with South Jersey workers who shared their personal struggles of surviving on low wages, unable to afford life’s basic necessities. Rep. Norcross referenced data showing that American worker productivity is up 74% over the last four decades while hourly compensation has increased a mere 9% over that same period. In contrast, the CEOs of large corporations were paid 20 times more than the average worker in 1965, and are now making nearly 300 times more than the typical American worker.
The Congressman’s legislation has the support of elected and community leaders from across South Jersey, including the New Jersey NAACP and Bishop Dennis Sullivan of the Camden Catholic Diocese, who authored a letter echoing Rep. Norcross’ call to increase the minimum wage.
“There is no greater benefit that we can provide to the workforce than a heathy living wage. Study after study has shown that wage increases significantly improve the viability of families and their ability to offer a nurturing environment to their children. To prevent such opportunities is a sin before both God and humankind,” said Bishop Sullivan in a written statement.
A provision of Rep. Norcross’ legislation 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.
“Raising the wage will help these families succeed, and my legislation also provides support to small businesses that take a lead in the fight for fair wages,” said Rep. Norcross.
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.