Yesterday marked a historic day for working people in the state of New Jersey. After years of effort, New Jersey became the fourth state in the country to pass a $15 minimum wage bill. This would not have been possible without the tireless effort of dozens of organizations working together to get this done!
A coalition of worker centers, unions, and faith groups had workers participate by meeting with legislators, holding rallies, and giving testimonies to the State Assembly and Senate Labor Committees. The intention was for a $15 for ALL bill to include domestic workers; the final bill has carve-outs giving small businesses (with 5 employees or fewer) until 2026 to reach $15, versus 2024 for the majority of workers.
“Besides being the morally correct thing to do, this will help local economies as folks have more money for purchases and won’t have to choose between which item is most essential to buy that week because of low wages. It's a step in the right direction, but there is still much to be done. We need it on the federal level too. When we fight we win!” said Louis Kimmel, Executive Director of New Labor, an IWJ affiliate based in New Jersey.
IWJ is not only grateful for the work being done on the ground in New Jersey, but also for our affiliates’ work in California, New York, and Massachusetts where a $15 minimum wage bill has already been passed, as well as for our affiliates in the 20 states and 40 counties and cities that also raised their minimum wages. When we work together, working people win! So congratulations to every person and organization who worked so hard to get these bills across the finish line.
But the struggle is far from over. There are ongoing campaigns in Congress and in more than 15 other states to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And in most states, we still need to ensure that workers are actually receiving their increased wages by passing anti-wage theft legislation. We can and will make it happen by working together! Visit Why America Needs a 15 Minimum Wage to find out more about the current bill in Congress. You can also voice your support for a $15 minimum wage by becoming a co-signer of the "Raise the Wage Act of 2019".