Press Release: Latino Leaders Endorse Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. “Raise the Wage” Campaign

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 12, 2013
CONTACT: Paul Penna (609) 989-8289

Press Release:

Latino Leaders Endorse Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. “Raise the Wage” Campaign
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Passaic – Today, Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. “Raise the Wage” campaign was joined by State Senators Barbara Buono and Nellie Pou, Assemblywoman Marlene Caride, Passaic Mayor Alex Blanco and several others at a Latino Leaders “Raise the Wage” campaign kickoff.

“We know that a raise to minimum wage increase with an annual cost of living adjustment will serve as a real economic stimulus” said Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. Chair Charles N. Hall, Jr. “This November, we as a state have a great chance to vote ourselves a much needed raise.”

“The labor movement has long been the champion for causes that improve the quality of life for all workers” said Laurel Brennan, Secretary-Treasurer of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “Raising the minimum wage does just that and we are going to work hard to make sure it passes this November.”

"In these tough economic times, we must do all we can to ensure working and middle class families can make ends meet - and that starts with raising the minimum wage," Senator Buono said. "For the single mom working two jobs or the family struggling to pay for essential goods, an increased minimum wage will put money in the pockets of those New Jerseyans who need it most. The time is now to make an increased minimum wage a reality here in New Jersey."

 “It is long past due to speak about this fundamental issue and in November, the minimum wage debate will be taken out of the partisan arena and put in the hands of New Jersey residents,” said Senator Nellie Pou. (D-35th District) “No one who lives or works in New Jersey should be subjected to a life of poverty; every cent invested in our workers serves to strengthen local businesses and to create new jobs. New Jersey has historically been a leader on providing a high minimum wage, and it’s time we recommit to that promise.”

“New Jerseyans can no longer continue to support their families on New Jersey's minimum wage. New Jersey is one of the most expensive states to live in. Right now an individual working a 40-hour work week earns $290 a week” said Assemblywoman Marlene Caride. “How many of us who are accustomed to generous paychecks could honestly survive on that? More so, how can we tell these families that they will just have to continue to make do with so little, when everything around them is going up? It's been eight years since the New Jersey legislature raised the minimum wage. While the rate has remained the same, the cost of living has not. We have a responsibility to help those individuals who are struggling to climb out of the bottom. It's not only the right thing to do, but by helping people better position themselves financially, they will be better equipped to contribute to our economy. With more disposable income, families will be able to afford things that may be out of reach for them now. More money will lead to increased spending, which benefits our businesses and our economy."

"New Jersey residents work hard and they deserve a fair wage for honest work.  It has been years since the last raise in our minimum wage, and workers require an increase now” said Passaic Mayor Alex Blanco. “City of Passaic residents need to earn enough to help raise our families, and New Jersey is falling behind our neighboring states."

“I’m not asking for a handout or free ride. I’m looking for my chance to make ends meet for me and my family.  A raise in the minimum wage would mean an extra $2,000 to help my family get by” said minimum wage employee Gertudis Contreras.

Today’s events served as part of an ongoing education effort to inform voters about the ballot initiative and the benefits it would give New Jersey’s working families. The “Raise the Wage” campaign, working with our growing coalition will sponsor several different events to educate the public on the minimum wage increase ballot question.

Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc.’s “Raise the Wage” campaign has 234 member organizations, comprised of labor, religious, community, civil rights, student, women, and retirees groups  dedicated to ensuring that New Jersey’s minimum wage ballot initiative passes on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. For more information on the campaign or any of its ongoing efforts, contact “Raise the Wage” Campaign Manager Paul Penna at (609) 898-8289 or via email at ppenna@wfunj.org .

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