NJEA’s elected officers welcomed the new minimum wage law signed today by Gov. Phil Murphy. That law will boost wages for New Jersey’s lowest paid workers and gradually raise the pay for most positions to at least $15 per hour. While it will not eliminate the problem of income inequality, a higher minimum wage will help ensure that working people in New Jersey are better able to support themselves and their families. Additionally, it will benefit New Jersey’s students, as NJEA President Marie Blistan pointed out in an op-ed on the issue late last year.
Blistan, along with NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller and NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty, issued this statement:
“NJEA members have long supported raising the minimum wage as a matter of racial, social and economic justice. We understand that when families have greater economic security, students have greater freedom to focus on their education. Raising New Jersey’s minimum wage is a matter of basic fairness in a state where the cost of living is high and where our economy is strong. That economy needs to benefit everyone, and this will help make that a reality.
“We commend Gov. Murphy, along with every legislator who supported this long-overdue acknowledgement that working people in New Jersey deserve a higher minimum wage. Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin deserve special credit for championing this issue in the Legislature and making sure a bill made it to Gov. Murphy’s desk. This is what New Jersey voters demanded in the last election, and those leaders have delivered an important win to working people.
“This is a significant step toward economic justice for New Jersey’s working families, and it should serve as a catalyst for even more focus on issues that New Jersey’s voters want to see addressed. As the Legislature and governor begin to focus on next year’s budget, they should continue to keep economic justice at the forefront. That includes making higher education more accessible and ensuring that health care remains affordable, including for New Jersey’s public employees. It also includes funding public schools so we can keep our economy strong, funding pensions so we can keep our promise to public employees, and passing legislation to help ensure that all public employees are treated with dignity and respect.”
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