TRENTON, NJ – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01), 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. (Click here to view the full press conference.)
Following votes by Republicans in Congress last week to increase taxes for middle class New Jersey families, the lawmakers, workers and leaders explain why it is more important now than ever to raise wages.
“I’ve worked for minimum wage and I spent my career fighting for good pay for workers,” said Congressman Norcross. “I am living proof that the best social program in the world is a good job and the dignity that comes with it, but that dream is slipping away. American families are experiencing a long-term decline in their economic security – and yet Republicans in Congress are voting to increase taxes for middle class New Jersey families and taking health coverage away from millions. We need to change this toxic pattern and do something hardworking Americans need and deserve – raise wages.”
“There has never been a question as to whether I will sign a minimum wage increase. This has been a top priority for me from the very beginning,” said Governor-elect Murphy. “It is antithetical to our values that we allow anyone who works 40 hours a week to earn a poverty-level wage. I reject the ‘us versus them’ mentality that says we can either have jobs or good wages, but not both. We can do both, and we must.”
"A $15 minimum wage would give hourly workers an improved pay scale so they can keep pace with the cost of living and support themselves and their families,” said NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney, who sponsored a $15 wage bill last year that was vetoed by the governor as well as the prior two minimum wage increases in New Jersey. “We now have the opportunity to put New Jersey in the forefront with a plan that will provide workers with a fair wage that will climb to $15 an hour. It is the right thing to do for working people and it is the smart thing to do for the economy. The higher earnings will act as an economic stimulus because the money will go directly into the economy.”
“Any New Jerseyan who works for a living should get paid enough to sustain a family,” said NJ Speaker-designee Craig Coughlin. “New Jersey Democrats have already made clear that we support increasing the minimum wage, and I look forward to working with Governor Murphy next year to finally make real progress on this front. Growing the middle-class is a top priority, and with Republicans voting to hike taxes on the middle-class while also putting health care at risk, raising the wage has never been more vital.”
The following state leaders were also in attendance at the press conference at the State House: Charlie Wowkanech, President, New Jersey AFL-CIO; Laurel Brennan, Secretary Treasurer, New Jersey AFL-CIO; Julie Diaz, Political Director, SEIU 32BJ; Ivette Mendez, Political Director, SEIU 1199; Wilfredo Larancuent, President, SEIU Workers United; Hashim Shormari, Acting Executive Director,SEIU NJ State Council; Ann Twomey, President, Health Professionals and Allied Employees; Hetty Rosenstein, Director, CWA District 1; and Analilia Mejia, Executive Director, New Jersey Working Families.