Category Archives: minimum wage

As A Matter Of Fact…Business Leaders Agree: Raising the Minimum Wage Makes Sense

by Jon Whiten
Published in NJPP Blog: As a Matter of Fact …

While legislative leaders’ efforts to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $8.50 an hour have taken a backseat in recent weeks to the governor’s proposed income tax cut, similar legislation in New York is gaining the backing of some high-profile business advocates.

First up was a Daily News op-ed co-authored by New York City’s billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg that used free-market ideology to argue for bolstering the minimum wage.

“[The minimum wage] helps taxpayers by reducing the number of people who might otherwise have to rely on public assistance to survive,” Bloomberg and state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wrote. “Taxpayers benefit when government dependency is low – and so does the economy.”

The Daily News piece was followed a few days later by an editorial in business bible Crain’s that called for the minimum wage to be raised to $8.50 an hour and tied to inflation going forward. Crain’s said opponents’ arguments that a wage increase will destroy low-paid jobs just aren’t true; it pointed to New York’s 2004 raising of the wage as an example.

“If the change had a cataclysmic effect on businesses that depend heavily on minimum-wage workers, we certainly missed it,” the paper wrote. “Neither, quite obviously, did it shower undeserved riches on the bottom rung of workers.”

If and when the minimum wage bill here in New Jersey starts to pick up steam again, we can only hope some of the state’s leading voices for business will, like Bloomberg and Crain’s, avoid a knee-jerk dismissal of the proposal, and look instead at how it will help our entire economy to flourish.

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Filed under As a Matter of Fact, blog, Michael Bloomberg, minimum wage, New Jersey, New Jersey Policy Perspective, NY Daily News, taxpayers

Quote Of The Day: Republicans and their priorities

Remember this quote from the 33rd President of the United State, Harry S. Truman, when you head to the polls tomorrow.

It tells you all you need to know about Republicans and their priorities which seems to as true today as it was over 60 years ago.

Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home–but not for housing. They are strong for labor–but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage–the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all–but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine–for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing–but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing–so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.”

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Filed under 33rd President, American farmers, Harry S. Truman, medical care, minimum wage, Quote of the day, Republicans, schools, Teachers

80 Reasons Why It’s Time To Take These Republican/Tea Party ‘Sons Of Bitches’ Down

Here’s another gem that I found on AddictingInfo.com today that I thought I would pass along titled “80 Reasons Why It’s Time To Take These Republican/Tea Party ‘Sons Of Bitches’ Down“. I think it touches upon all the points as to why the Tea Party and its members are so wrong, on so many issues , I hope you agree and feel free to comment:

At a Labor Day event yesterday, Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa gave a fiery speech about the tea party, telling the American people that “It’s time to take these sons of bitches out.” And each and every one of us should listen. For the last thirty years, the American people have been under assault from the right-wing and their corporate overlords. Everything that makes America strong is being weakened and the American people are suffering. So if you need a reason why we should end the Republican/Tea Party, here are 80 of them.

1. They want to take away your Social Security.
2. They want to end Medicare.
3. They want to wipe out labor unions.
4. They want to send every last American job overseas.
5. They want to pollute the air we breathe.
6. They want pollute the water we drink.
7. They want to persecute non-Christians.
8. They want declare a state religion.
9. They took America hostage during the debt ceiling debate.
10. They want to take America hostage in every debate from now on.
11. The want to make it legal for businesses to discriminate.
12. They want to segregate our schools.
13. They want to allow oil companies to rape America’s environmental treasures for any trace amount of oil.
14. They refuse to give aid to the American people who go through natural disasters.
15. They want to end funding for natural disaster warning systems.
16. They want to take away the right to vote.
17. They want to make abortion illegal, even in cases of rape.
18. They want to abolish the corporate income tax.
19. They want to raise YOUR taxes but not taxes on the wealthy.
20. They want to end workplace safety regulations.
21. They ARE racists.
22. They disrespect the President at every opportunity.
23. They don’t support health care for every American citizen.
24. They want to allow health insurance companies to drop people.
25. They want to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.
26. They want to illegally spy on American citizens.
27. They want more wars.
28. They want to indoctrinate our kids.
29. They want to make laws requiring every person to own a gun whether you like guns or not.
30. They want kill Planned Parenthood and end critical health care services for women.
31. They want to ban contraceptives and condoms.
32. They want to kill homosexuals.
33. They want to end unemployment benefits.
34. They want our infrastructure to crumble.
35. They want to end the independent judiciary branch, and turn it into a strictly conservative branch.
36. They want to keep women from earning equal pay for equal work.
37. They want President Obama to fail at all costs.
38. They want to continue the same failed economic policies that put us into a recession.
39. They rewrite and distort history.
40. They want to end public education for all.
41. They want to repeal the Voting Rights Act.
42. They care more about Wall Street than they do about Main Street.
43. They have voted to end 1.9 million jobs and have created zero.
44. They want to make it legal to kill doctors who provide abortions.
45. They want to reinstate ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
46. They encourage gun violence.
47. They refuse to vote for cleaner, more efficient energy sources.
48. They want to deport hispanics, whether they were born here or not.
49. They support Israel’s President over our own.
50. They want to abolish minimum wage laws.
51. They think corporations are people.
52. They want to repeal portions of the Constitution.
53. They want to pull America out of the United Nations.
54. They support torture.
55. They want to teach creationism in schools.
56. They reject science.
57. They want to make cohabitation before marriage a crime.
58. They want to allow health insurance companies to not cover sick children.
59. They want to end food stamps.
60. They make government ineffective.
61. They want to take away your pensions.
62. They want to privatize prisons to put more people in jail.
63. They want to end your right to collectively bargain with your employer.
64. They want to ban the unemployed from being considered for employment.
65. They want end funding for legal services for the poor.
66. They want to end Miranda Rights.
67. They think all liberals are un-American.
68. They refuse to give any credit to President Obama for ordering the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
69. They refuse to acknowledge that 9/11 occurred during the Bush Administration.
70. They declared fiscal martial law in a Michigan town and fired the legally elected local government.
71. They called President Obama a liar during his State Of The Union Address.
72. They refuse to cut the Defense budget, which if cut in half would still be the largest defense budget in the world.
73. They apologize to foreign oil companies when they take heat for oil spills.
74. They take orders from the Koch brothers.
75. They sign pledges drawn up by conservative activists, and ignore their pledge to serve the constituents who voted for them.
76. They use conservative media to push the right wing agenda even if it means distorting the news or flat out lying.
77. They want to cut nutrition programs for children.
78. They want to cut housing and energy assistance programs that help poor people.
79. They want to slash job training programs that help the unemployed.
80. They think teachers are thugs.

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Filed under AddictingInfo.com, energy, Health Care, Jimmy Hoffa, Labor Day, labor unions, minimum wage, Social Security, sons of bitches, Tea Party, Teamsters, United Nations, US Constitution, voting rights act

>Hug a Union Member Today in Remembrance of What Unions Have Meant to Every American

>Before people gang up on and bash those that are in unions, whether the union is a private sector or public sector union, remember what you have received because of their efforts.

In a column over at ThinkProgress, REPORT: Five Things Unions Have Done For All Americans, they list five things that have made a major difference in all American’s lives that many of us take for granted today, there are others not listed like the minimum wage and safe working environments, but you’ll get the point.
Take time today to hug a union member in remembrance for what they have given us, instead of bashing they for what you perceive they are trying to take away or cost us:

1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend: Even the ultra-conservative Mises Institute notes that the relatively labor-free 1870, the average workweek for most Americans was 61 hours — almost double what most Americans work now. Yet in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century, labor unions engaged in massive strikes in order to demand shorter workweeks so that Americans could be home with their loved ones instead of constantly toiling for their employers with no leisure time. By 1937, these labor actions created enough political momentum to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act, which helped create a federal framework for a shorter workweek that included room for leisure time.

2. Unions Gave Us Fair Wages And Relative Income Equality: As ThinkProgress reported earlier in the week, the relative decline of unions over the past 35 years has mirrored a decline in the middle class’s share of national income. It is also true that at the time when most Americans belonged to a union — a period of time between the 1940′s and 1950′s — income inequality in the U.S. was at its lowest point in the history of the country.

3. Unions Helped End Child Labor: “Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined” in U.S. history, with organization’s like the “National Consumers’ League” and the National Child Labor Committee” working together in the early 20th century to ban child labor. The very first American Federation of Labor (AFL) national convention passed “a resolution calling on states to ban children under 14 from all gainful employment” in 1881, and soon after states across the country adopted similar recommendations, leading up to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act which regulated child labor on the federal level for the first time.

4. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage: “The rise of unions in the 1930′s and 1940′s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers. In 1942, “the US set up a National War Labor Board. It had the power to set a cap on all wage increases. But it let employers circumvent the cap by offering “fringe benefits” – notably, health insurance.” By 1950, “half of all companies with fewer than 250 workers and two-thirds of all companies with more than 250 workers offered health insurance of one kind or another.”

5. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act: Labor unions like the AFL-CIO federation led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”

Read more >>> Here

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Filed under AFL-CIO, health coverage, minimum wage, Think Progress, union bashing, union benefits

>NJPP Monday Minute 12/27/10: To Insure Promptness: Tips for the Holiday Season

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As the holiday season winds down, many have said thanks by tipping the people who take care of them during the year. These are the people who take care of their children, clean their houses and cut their hair. They are the people who walk their dogs, deliver their newspaper and prepare and serve their food. And, because many of these people are only guaranteed a fraction of the full minimum wage from their employer, they rely on these tips to help them make ends meet.

Tipped workers earn less than one-third the $7.25 an hour New Jersey state and federal law guarantees to minimum wage workers. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act allows employers to pay workers who rely on tips as a major source of income as little as $2.13 an hour, as long as the worker earns at least the full minimum wage when his or her hourly wage and tips are averaged over a full work week. The definition of a tipped worker is one who earns at least $30 a week in tips. That includes waiters and waitresses, bartenders and parking lot attendants whose wages averaged about $11 an hour in 2009 when tips were included.

The problem with a job that relies on tips is that workers can see wide fluctuations in their income, which can make it difficult to pay their bills. All but two states, including New Jersey, have established a minimum wage for tipped workers to help alleviate the problems associated with these fluctuations. Because New Jersey has not established a minimum wage for tipped workers, the state’s rate defaults to the federal standard of $2.13 an hour, a wage that was last raised in 1991 and is the same in New Jersey as it is in Mississippi. Imagine living in New Jersey on a Mississippi wage that has not increased in 19 years.

The last time New Jersey addressed the issue of minimum wage workers was in 2005 when it raised the wage for most workers to $7.15. At the same time, it established the New Jersey Minimum Wage Advisory Commission to report on the adequacy of the wage and the condition of minimum wage workers. The commission issued two reports – the first in December 2007; the second a year later. Both reports recommended that New Jersey’s minimum wage be raised (first to $8.25 an hour, then to $8.50) and adjusted annually to reflect increases in the cost of living, as has been done in 10 other states.

But New Jersey lawmakers have failed to act. Only because the federal minimum wage increased in July 2009 did New Jersey’s minimum wage workers receive a 10-cent increase, which increased the hourly wage to $7.25. Perhaps frustrated by the state’s inaction, the Minimum Wage Advisory Commission has not met since 2008.

Today 14 states and the District of Columbia have higher minimum wages than New Jersey does. On January 1, three more states will provide a more generous wage than New Jersey currently does. A minimum wage worker in New Jersey who works full-time 52 weeks a year earns $15,080 annually, barely above the federal poverty level for a family of two ($14,570) and less than the federal poverty level for a family of three ($18,310) or four ($22,050). Supporting oneself or one’s family on salaries like that is especially difficult in New Jersey which now has the fifth highest cost of living in the country.

Raising wages for the lowest-paid workers helps sustain consumer spending and will boost the economic recovery. Minimum wage increases go directly to workers who spend the additional money immediately – on food, rent, gas and clothing. Without action by New Jersey lawmakers, the value of New Jersey’s minimum wage will continue to erode, making it even harder for minimum wage workers to make ends meet. And, without the establishment of a statewide minimum wage for tipped workers, the people who depend on tips to pay their bills will continue to fall into deeper and deeper poverty.

In this season of giving, New Jersey owes it to these workers to raise the minimum wage; to restore its value; and to establish a minimum wage for people who rely on tips to supplement their income. The minimum wage was set up to provide a safety net for the most vulnerable workers. It’s time for this to actually mean something.

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Filed under hourly wage, minimum wage, Monday Minute, New Jersey Policy Perspective, part-time work, Tips

What Does Another 80 Cents a Day Buy? Not Enough!


On July 24, the federal minimum wage rose to $7.25 per hour. With it, thousands of New Jersey’s minimum wage workers saw a 10-cent increase in their hourly wage. This is nothing to be proud of, especially since the state’s median household income of $67,035 makes New Jerseyans the second highest income earners in the country.

The increase marks the first time in four years that New Jersey’s minimum wage earners will make the same as those in Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina and 27 other states throughout the country. This despite the fact that the state’s median household income is 84 percent higher than Mississippi’s, 75 percent more than Arkansas’ and 50 percent higher than North Carolina’s.

Housing costs in New Jersey are among the nation’s highest, with renters paying more than $400 above the national average per month. To afford a two-bedroom apartment alone, a minimum wage worker would have to work an impossible 129 hours per week every week of the year.

Housing is not the only thing that costs more in New Jersey. Groceries cost 11 percent more than in the rest of the country, utilities 16 percent more and health care an additional 10 percent.

In 2007, the state’s Minimum Wage Advisory Commission recommended the minimum wage be raised to $8.25 an hour, the federal poverty threshold for a three-person family; one year later it recommended an increase to $8.50 an hour. The commission also called on the legislature to annually adjust the minimum wage with the cost of living. To date, the legislature has done nothing.

Each year New Jersey’s elected officials do not raise the minimum wage, it’s the state’s working poor who suffer the most. Money earned today will buy less next year than it did this year, and even less in the following year. In actual buying power, the state’s minimum wage has declined since it was first introduced in 1968. That means the $7.25 per hour workers earn today buys less than the $1.40 they earned in 1968 or the $3.10 they received in 1980. Had it kept pace with inflation, the minimum wage would now be $8.68, or $1.43 more than it currently is. This, combined with the fact that low-wage workers tend not to receive wage increases, health coverage or sick days makes keeping up with inflation impossible for these families.

Raising the minimum wage not only helps individuals and families who rely on every bit of their paycheck to pay their rent, buy their groceries, clothe their children and provide healthcare for themselves and their families, it also stimulates the economy. Because they earn so little, low-wage workers are less likely than people with higher salaries to save money. This means that every additional dollar they earn is needed and will be spent.

The current economic downturn has affected almost everyone, and New Jersey’s low-income earners are struggling to meet the most basic of needs. By raising the state minimum wage to at least keep up with inflation, New Jersey will lessen the hardship faced by its most vulnerable residents.

To find out more about the New Jersey Policy Perspective click >>>Here

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Filed under median household income, minimum wage, New Jersey, New Jersey Policy Perspective