September 25, 2012
Senate President Sweeney Introduces Legislation to Increase the Minimum Wage via Constitutional Amendment
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO commends Senate President Steve Sweeney for introducing legislation today that seeks to increase the minimum wage by amending the State’s Constitution. If the resolution passes both Houses of the Legislature in two consecutive calendar years (in 2012 and 2013) with a simple majority of Legislators, then it will appear on the ballot in 2013. Under the resolution, the state’s minimum wage would be increased from the current rate of $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour beginning in 2014. After that, any increase in the minimum wage would be indexed to the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Raising the minimum wage is a critical issue for New Jersey’s low income workers. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO fully supports this legislation and will be working tirelessly to ensure its passage in the Legislature and its approval by voters next year.
Although a bill to pass the minimum wage has been moving through the legislature this session, Governor Christie has stated he opposes its most important component, the CPI indexing, and has threatened to veto it. Constitutional amendments do not need to be signed by the Governor. Currently, 10 states have already indexed their minimum wages to the CPI. By including the COLA, this legislation is a comprehensive proposal that will provide long term relief for the state’s low income workers.
Again, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO thanks Senator Sweeney for introducing this resolution and we look forward to working with him, the Legislature, all affiliates, community allies and other coalition members to achieve passage.