Groups Urge Approval Of Minimum Wage Hike

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. August 26, 2013

Listen to Report

Article image
At Statehouse news conference, supporters urge approval of minimum wage increase (photo by Phil Gregory)

Some Democratic lawmakers, labor leaders, and community groups are urging voters to approve a constitutional amendment this November to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage.

Supporters of the measure say the current $7.25 an hour minimum is not enough to make ends meet.

Senator Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate for governor, says the majority of low wage earners are women.

“You will most likely still have to resort to food stamps to be able to buy your groceries, and one thing is for sure at the end of the year you will still be waking up in that cold sweat, worrying about the bills as they’re piling up and wondering how long before you and your children are out on the street.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney says it’s time to give the working poor a little more money.

“It’s not like these people are running to the bank. I’m rich now I’m doing great. Maybe instead of hot dogs they’re going to have chicken. Maybe they’re going to have little better accommodation of living. Maybe they can afford clothes or to stay here. Maybe they can work a little less.”

Governor Christie vetoed a minimum wage increase in January, saying it would jeopardize the state’s economic recovery.

Supporters disagree.  James Harris, the president of the NAACP of New Jersey, says boosting the base pay by a dollar and providing annual increases based on inflation would spur the economy because low wage earners will spend all of the extra pay they get.

 “That money is going to come right back into the economy. So we’re going to grow, but more than anything else we grow hope, and we grow the attitude that somebody cares.”



Get the Rundown from WBGO News

A weekly email from WBGO News with a preview of what's coming up and a taste of what you might have missed.