Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop announced his support yesterday for the referendum that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour.
“This is a critical step toward enhancing the lives of our working families,” Fulop said of the referendum on the Nov. 5 election ballot. “We know that our working families support our local economy and these hardworking men and women deserve pay equal to their work.”
In January, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have raised the minimum wage by $1, arguing that the increase should be phased in over a three-year period to avoid jeopardizing the state’s economic progress.
Christie argued that his plan would give workers the relief they need and also give New Jersey’s small businesses time to plan for its implementation. The governor said his balanced approach would prevent layoffs and relocations of workers.
Fulop cited a New Jersey Policy Perspective report that found the minimum wage increase would result in an overall state gross domestic product increase of $174.8 million in 2014, because of higher consumer spending.
Of those workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase, 82 percent are older than 20, the mayor said, adding that the increase would help increase wage scales across many different employment sectors.
Fulop will be the recipient of an endorsement Monday when a coalition of groups is expected to support his earned sick days ordinance proposal.
The proposed “earned sick day” measure, before the Jersey City City Council, would require all businesses with 10 or more workers to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick time annually. The measure, which has been panned by members of the business community, will have its first reading at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
The groups expected to show their support for the measure Monday include NJ Working Families Alliance, the state NAACP and its Jersey City chapter, New Jersey Citizen Action and the Service Employee International Union.
If passed, the ordinance would make Jersey City the first city in the state to guarantee workers earned sick days, according to NJ Working Families Alliance.