During a statehouse press conference, New Jersey State AFL-CIO officers, President Charles Wowkanech and Secretary-Treasurer Laurel Brennan, joined with Governor-Elect Murphy, Congressman Donald Norcross (IBEW 351), Senate President Steve Sweeney (Ironworkers 399), and Speaker-Elect Craig Coughlin to make it clear that New Jersey will lead the nation forward in the fight to raise workers’ wages.
President Wowkanech stated, “While right-wing leaders in Washington have made millionaire/corporate tax cuts, funded on the backs of the middle class, a first priority, New Jersey will show the nation that getting our economy back on track starts with raising wages for all workers.” Wowkanech added, “Even if the GOP tax plan served to benefit the average working person – which it does not according to various studies that find New Jersey workers would in many cases pay more – a tax cut is simply not going to make up for the ground workers have lost over the years due to stagnant wages and rising costs.”
Secretary-Treasurer Laurel Brennan stated, “The reduction of purchasing power for middle class families and the extreme concentration of wealth has created a national crisis. The link between hard work and economic reward has become blurred if not altogether lost. However, we want to make clear that organized labor is fighting against the forces of organized greed that have led us to this juncture, and we will make sure that New Jersey’s future is one that ensures dignified compensation, respect and a path to the middle class for all working people.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO, in partnership with more than 1,000 local union affiliates, elected officials, and community partners, will champion a higher minimum wage, collective bargaining rights, infrastructure investment, and job training among other policies that will bring balance to the economy and equitable compensation to workers up and down the income scale.