New Jersey’s minimum wage of $7.25 was simply infeasible given our state’s high cost of living, and as of tomorrow, approximately 400,000 workers will realize a long-overdue raise. The significance of this increase cannot be understated. Forty more dollars a week will make the difference between falling further behind and making ends meet; it is a full tank of gas, a trip to the grocery store or extra time to spend with family; and for workers who are in poverty, despite having two or three jobs, a little more money can provide the means for future advancement.
A minimum wage increase and annual cost of living adjustment could not have come at a better time for our state. The cost of education, health care, housing, gas, food, and transportation are all on the rise. Now for the first time, low income workers will have the chance to keep pace with rising costs and have a few more dollars to spend to benefit the local economy, making the minimum wage a win-win for New Jersey families, businesses, and communities.
Furthermore, the minimum wage is more than a just a low-income issue. In fact, of those individuals who will benefit from the minimum wage increase, approximately 250,000 or 60% are women. Therefore, this new policy will also be instrumental to closing the wage gap between men and women and advancing social equality.
The Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. “Raise the Wage” Campaign, of which you were a part of, demonstrated a coordinated statewide effort between hundreds of community, labor, faith, student, women, business, and civil rights groups never before seen in New Jersey, and we thank you for your support.