The News Room

The New Food Economy. January 8, 2019. “A New Jersey lawmaker wants to raise the minimum wage for farmworkers in his state to $12.50 an hour—which would make it one of the highest such rates in the country. You might think that sounds like a pretty good deal, but farmworker advocates are displeased…Advocates say the real problem here isn’t lower wages. It’s that pickers, harvesters, irrigators, and other field and orchard workers are already exempted from many existing labor protections.”

Politico. January 8, 2019. “New Jersey’s minimum wage is at $8.85 an hour, barely changed from when Murphy was elected. The lack of change is emblematic of intra-Democratic fighting in the Garden State and is a window into how challenging it‘s been for the Murphy administration to fulfill its self-styled role as a Democratic standard-bearer and liberal policy leader in the Trump era.”

The Star Ledger. January 7, 2019 Mejia: Denying certain workers the protections and privileges enjoyed by some — particularly when those unfortunately excluded are some of the most vulnerable workers among us — runs completely counter to the ideals of pay equity and racial justice routinely espoused in Trenton.

The Star Ledger Editorial Board. January 7, 2019. Everyone wants to see $15 become a reality. The tangle is all about which workers can be left out, and how long it will take for the people they deem unworthy of a livable wage to achieve something resembling dignity and solvency…It’s almost unimaginable that this debate is entering its second year

The Record. January 5, 2019. “New Jersey Democrats’ unfinished business from 2018 — raising the minimum wage and legalizing marijuana for recreational use — tops the list of priorities in the new year, which could also feature a politically explosive debate over taxes and public worker benefit rollbacks.

NJBiz. January 4, 2019.  “The state’s top three Democrats plan to meet next week in an effort to hash out an agreement on marijuana legalization and a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour…The meeting would come days ahead of Murphy’s first State of the State address to highlight his first year in office, slated for Jan. 15.”

The Star Ledger. January 3, 2019. “The three leaders enter 2019 hoping to make headway on two big-ticket Democratic priorities that stalled last year: a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and another to legalize recreational marijuana here.

Insiders say Murphy and legislative leaders are much closer to agreeing on a final minimum wage bill — with a vote possibly coming by the end of this month.”

ROI. December 27, 2018. Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver sat down with ROI to discuss the minimum wage fight.

“When I was in the Legislature and the whole conversation about carving out agricultural workers came up, I did some undercover visits,” she said. “I went, and I visited farm workers in the southern part of the state.

“I believe their work is as hard and difficult as any other job, and I do not favor a carveout of farm workers. I also view that as a discriminatory piece, because we know a lot of our farm workers are Hispanic and Latino and they do a lot of back-breaking work.”

Socialist Worker. December 21, 2018. “The workers affected by this carve-out include teenagers, seasonal workers, farm workers, and workers at small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. These groups of workers are already some of the most exploited and marginalized people in the labor force. By forcing them into a separate and significantly slower category of wage increases, New Jersey Democrats are condemning some of the most vulnerable workers to a permanent status of underclass employment and poverty.”

WBGO. December 18, 2018.  As the New Jersey legislature prepares to vote on a $15 minimum wage bill, advocates for restaurant employees are making their case to ensure the industry isn’t left out.

Seven states have a ‘One Fair Wage’ bill, where restaurant employees make the state minimum wage with tips on top.  Opponents of the restaurant wage hike say it would hurt the industry, particularly small businesses.  Advocates believe otherwise.”

ROI. December 13, 2018. “I don’t make this claim as a labor advocate, but as a business owner in a field rife with underpaid workers. I am CEO of Lawns by Yorkshire, one of the state’s larger landscaping and snow removal firms, and I believe all of LBY’s employees and, indeed all those in New Jersey, deserve a fair day’s wage — and $15 an hour is right by today’s standards.”

The Star Ledger. December 13, 2018. “Sweeney said Thursday he’s “optimistic” about minimum wage legislation, though a vote won’t come before 2019.” 

“We made significant progress today,” Murphy spokesman Mahen Gunarantna said in a statement. “The governor is optimistic we can get a $15 minimum wage passed in the very near future.”

The Daily Record. December 12, 2018. “As mayors of key cities in Central New Jersey, we have stood together, alongside workers, union members, and advocates for working families to urge our elected representatives in Trenton to raise the wage before the end of 2018. We did this because we understand that every week we delay means more workers struggling to make ends meet, more families going without, and more local businesses left without customers they are eager to serve.”

South Jersey Times Letter. December 10.  Here we go again in the never-ending battle for worthwhile pay. It is not surprising that our elected officials don’t understand the rest of us — or don’t want to. Maybe they are too tied into their “investors.” They certainly don’t work for us…So, under Coughlin’s bill, we are supposed to wait for 2024 before the minimum for most workers reaches $15 an hour. (For some “carve out” workers, Coughlin’s bill would let employers delay $15 an hour until 2029.)

NJSpotlight. December 12, 2018. “Gov. Phil Murphy said he’ll meet tomorrow with top legislative leaders from his own party and a new bill that would hike the state’s minimum hourly rate to $15 for most workers by 2024 will likely be a key topic of discussion.”

NJTV News. December 10, 2018. Earth Friendly Products in Parsippany makes environmentally sound cleaning products like ECOS laundry detergent. Gov. Phil Murphy visited Tuesday because the company pays its workers a $17 minimum wage.”