With the Nov. 5 election just days away, New Jersey’s “Raise the Wage” campaign is entering the home stretch in its fight to raise the minimum wage across the state.
Looking for a win at the polls, the advocacy group Working Families United for New Jersey is continuing its ad-blitz in hopes of getting Question 2 passed on Tuesday.
Last month, the group secured 47 billboards in the key markets of Newark, New Brunswick, Jersey City and Plainfield asking New Jersey residents to “improve the economy” and “raise the minimum wage,” by voting in favor of Question 2 on this week’s ballot.
Sponsored by New Jersey State Senators Stephen Sweeney (D-3rd district), Shirley Turner (D-15th) and Assembly members Sheila Oliver (D-34th), Timothy Eustace (D-38th) and Grace Spencer (D-29th), the Question 2 ballot measure would raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour and allow for cost of living adjustments.
“The problem today is social mobility in our country is going down. More and more of our families are finding themselves trapped in dead-end jobs,” said former Newark Mayor and newly elected U.S. Senator, Cory Booker at an October event. “People all over the state are seeing that everything is going up. Rent is going up, gas is going up; everything is going up but their wages.”
Even though preliminary polls show voters overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage in New Jersey, backers of Question 2 have continued to increase efforts to ensure the measure passes.
In September, Working Families United for New Jersey produced several videos featuring New Jersey citizens’ attempts at living on minimum wage as well as a cable as that ran on statewide television urging viewers to vote “Yes” on Ballot Question #2.
(Watch video: http://www.youtube.com/user/RaisetheWage?feature=watch)
With an estimated 400,000 workers in New Jersey working at or near the minimum wage, Working Families United for New Jersey debuted a new website that makes the argument that wages for New Jersey’s lowest earners should rise by $1.00 per hour while allowing for an annual cost of living adjustment.
Despite a cost of living that is nearly 30 percent higher than the national average, New Jersey is tied for having the lowest minimum wage rate. The New Jersey legislature voted to raise the minimum wage in 2005; however, proponents of the minimum wage hike say the minimum wage has not kept pace with the cost of living in the state.
Now the issue of raising the minimum wage in New Jersey is up to voters.