October 23, 2013
By Marc Bussanich
Jersey City, NJ—Tayzia Treadwell earns a little bit more than the minimum wage as a security officer in Newark but still has difficulty paying the bills as a single mother. After Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation in July to increase New Jersey’s minimum wage by one dollar, voters will have the opportunity to vote yea or nay on a ballot question to raise the wage. Watch Video
"Working for minimum wage as you all know is not a go. It’s hard, especially with a daughter. A dollar more will definitely make a big difference,” said Trentwell.
The Working Families United for New Jersey, a coalition of organized labor and community activists, has been leading a campaign to inform the public about the ballot question to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour since the Governor vetoed the legislation.
According to New Jersey Policy Perspective, the state’s legislature approved raising the wage to $8.50 to go into effect on March 1 and would have tied future annual increases to a local Consumer Price Index July. After Christie’s veto, the legislature then initiated a ballot initiative to allow New Jerseyans vote yea or nay. If approved, the minimum wage would rise to $8.25 per hour in January and tie future annual increases to a local CPI.
Charles Hall, WFUNJ’s chairman, said the campaign has been working tirelessly by going to all corners of the state to inform the voting public of how a $1 minimum wage increase would benefit not only low-wage workers but also the state’s economy.
NJ Policy Perspective notes that those directly affected by the wage increase would get average annual raises of $980 each, which amounts to a wage increase of $276.1 million for 429,000 working New Jerseyans, or 11 percent of the state's workforce.
Some business groups are opposing the increase because they fear it will crimp profits and make it difficult to create additional jobs.
But a poll conducted by Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press in September shows that the ballot measure will pass by a wide margin.
According to the poll, 65 percent of registered voters say they will vote in favor of the measure, while only 12 percent will vote against. Support comes from majorities of Democrats (74%), independents (63%) and Republicans (54%).