It was a busy day at the State House today as several pro-labor bills advanced in the legislature. We sincerely thank legislative leaders, sponsors and all the legislators that voted in favor of two long time priorities for the New Jersey State AFL-CIO – raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and reforming the state’s Paid Family Leave program. Complete vote tallys will be distributed tomorrow.
The minimum wage bills (A-15: Coughlin / S-15: Sweeney) passed the Assembly by a vote of 52-25-0 and the Senate by a vote of 23-16, mostly along party lines with Democrats voting “Yes” and Republicans voting “No.” The only exceptions were Democratic Senators Gopal (D-11) and Andrzejczak (D-1) and Assemblymen Land (D-1) and Milam (D-1) voting against raising the minimum wage.
“This is a solid step forward in helping New Jersey’s working poor achieve a better life,” said Charles Wowkanech, President of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “For too long, these workers have been trapped in jobs that pay poverty level wages while businesses and corporations profit levels are at historic highs. Income inequality is a tremendous problem in our society and passing this bill is a morally responsible way to help address this problem,” concluded Wowkanech.
Paid Family Leave Reform legislation (S-2528: Sweeney / Diegnan / Ruiz & A-3975: Quijano / Giblin / Downey) passed the Assembly by a vote of 50-17-1 and the Senate by a vote of 27-11. The bill would extend the paid leave period from 6 weeks to 12 weeks, increase the benefit amount from two-thirds of a claimant’s average weekly wage to 70 percent of that wage with a higher maximum threshold, and also would expand job protection to businesses with 30 employees or more. The current protection level is 50 employees.
Additional bills supported by the NJ State AFL-CIO that advanced today were:
- Commuter Tax Credit (S-1567: Weinberg): Passed the Senate by a vote of 27-8. A-2425 (Benson / Giblin) passed the Assembly by a vote of 63-11-2.
- Amends the Custom Fabrication Prevailing Wage Requirement Law (A-3964: Murphy / Houghtaling): Passed the Assembly by a vote of 69-4-1.
- Panic Buttons for Hotel Workers to Prevent Sexual Assault (S-2986: Weinberg / Greenstein): Passed the Senate unanimously.
Thank you to all the affiliates that were in Trenton today continuing to push for the passage of these important pro-worker pieces of legislation.