Shame on New Jersey Dems for Pulling a Bait and Switch on $15 Min Wage

As of late, many on the political left have emphasized the need for moderate Democrats and progressives to put aside their differences to defeat the Republican Party, but there’s still a lot of tension bubbling below the surface. Liberals often accuse mainstream Dems of being “Republican-Lite” once they ascend to power, and they’ve got a solid example of that playing out in New Jersey at the moment.

Sign the petition: NJ families deserve real minimum wage reform!

Democrats have made a $15 minimum wage into a central rallying cry for the party, which is great since it’s a movement that helps get all workers closer to a living wage. Back in 2016, Dem legislators in New Jersey created a bill to swiftly boost the minimum wage, but decided to shelve it until 2018 since then-Governor Chris Christie was pretty certain to veto it.

Well, 2018 arrived and New Jersey not only got a Democratic governor in office in January, but a fairly progressive one in Phil Murphy who made a $15 minimum wage part of his campaign platform. His endorsement from the New Jersey people should have made getting this minimum wage legislation a slam-dunk, and yet that pretty awesome legislation from two years ago is no longer on the table.

Instead, Dem legislators have “gutted their original bill” making the new and unimproved version pretty toothless. $15 is still the eventual goal, but a lot of workers wouldn’t see that amount until 2029. With cost of living expenses rising at a much higher rate, that’ll still probably be a poverty wage a decade from now. Many of the incremental minimum wage increases between now and then aren’t far off from those already stipulated by state law in order just to keep up with inflation.

While some workers will get $15 by 2024 – still a slow timeframe – those who work for small businesses, do seasonal work, or are underage (i.e. a lot of the people who earn minimum wage) won’t see $15 until 2029.

So what happened to the original bill? Apparently, state Democrats used the interim to meet with business interests and worry about their concerns about having to compensate workers semi-fairly. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat, said they developed this “progressive plan” (def no longer progressive!) after “listen[ing] to all the groups.” It sure looks like now that Dem legislators have the power to make a change, they’re afraid of the consequences from pissing off their corporate donors.

Analilia Mejia who runs NJ Working Families called a spade a spade when she suggested that the original bill was for show when they knew it wouldn’t become law under Gov. Christie. She called the changes made in the legislation “unconscionable” and “an utter disappointment.”

Even the current governor is upset with the bill his party is now putting forward, particularly after pledging $15 by 2021 in his campaign. “I’m still coming to grips with what I’ve seen,” said Murphy. “The fact that somebody wouldn’t receive $15 for 11 years is, I have to admit, a bone in my throat.”

Democratic Party, take notice: this is not how you build long-term allegiance from liberal voters. The people championed a minimum wage increase, and the Democratic politicians who could make that happen are now showing their fiscally conservative side.

What’s worse, it’s mostly the same legislators that proposed the first bill. It couldn’t be more blatantly obvious that they’re willing to tease progressive legislation to enthuse voters when it’s not viable, but now the time is here to make it a reality, and they’re walking it back several miles.

BE BETTER or prepare to face real liberal challengers in your next primary contest.

Take Action

Perhaps if Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Speaker Craig Coughlin know they’re being watched by liberal voters they’ll back away from their plan to water down the real minimum wage reform plan. Sign this petition to tell them to revert to their previous legislation.

30 comments

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld3 months ago

Margaret,
Could be. It seems as if this was strictly a campaign promise to garner votes from the far left. Apparently, they had no intention of following through.

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Margaret G
Margaret Goodman3 months ago

I read in the Philadelphia Inquirer that a group of New Jersey statehouse Democrats wants to legislate gerrymandering. I wonder if this is the same group that wants to backtrack on the minimum wage.

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Peggy B
Peggy B3 months ago

TYFS

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Frances G
Frances G3 months ago

Thanks

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Tabot T
Tabot T3 months ago

Thanks

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Julia R
Julia R3 months ago

Yes take notice because you are all replaceable! And people have to eat and afford housing and be able to afford transportation to their jobs! Do what you promised!

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Janet B
Janet B3 months ago

Thanks

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Alea C
Alea C3 months ago

Mainstream democrats pull all sorts of crap, so I am a member of the progressive socialist democratic party. Their ideologies are worlds apart.

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