TRENTON, N.J. – The following is a Letter to the Editor sent to the Philadelphia Inquirer, by Charles Wowkanech, New Jersey State AFL-CIO President, in response to an Op-Ed piece that appeared in the paper:
Reduce CEO worker pay gap with minimum wage increase
One of the most compelling reasons for New Jerseyans to vote “Yes” on Ballot Question #2 to raise the minimum wage is the vast and growing gap between worker and CEO pay as was highlighted in Chris Hepp’s September 29th editorial “CEO vs. Worker Pay: A Big Deal?” Hepp cites a study by the Economic Policy Institute which found that between 1965 and 2012, average CEO compensation rose from 20 times that of the average worker to an astronomical 202 times.
Ballot Question #2 will appear on the New Jersey ballot on November 5th, giving voters the power to raise the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour with an annual cost of living adjustment. Such a measure would help to chip away at the massive gap between CEO and worker compensation and allow workers to claim a fairer piece of the profits which they help to create.
For the past several decades, despite our nation’s growing economy and record corporate profits, workers have been forced to split a declining share of the economic pie while those at the top grow by leaps and bounds. This trend has wreaked havoc on our nation’s middle class and has given disproportionate power to the wealthy elite.
Raising the minimum wage would benefit workers and businesses alike, increasing both wages and consumer demand for local goods and services. If we want a stable economy with a growing middle class, then it is necessary for workers at every level of our economy to be able to succeed, not just those at the very top.