WEC, in our mission to support safe and sustainable jobs and environments for all workers, cannot in good conscious support a minimum wage bill with carve outs.
Raising the minimum wage is a matter of both public and occupational health and safety. An economy dependent on low wages means an economy dependent on workers who are food insecure, who are impoverished, and who must worry about whether or not they will have access to healthcare. When our workers suffer, our communities, our businesses, and our workplaces suffer.
By carving out farm-workers, youth workers, small business employees, and seasonal workers, the legislature is making a statement that these workers are unworthy of the safety and sustainability that a living wage provides. This deepens a continuing public health crisis.
The legislature should instead support a clean $15 dollar an hour minimum wage bill, with no new carve outs and fully implemented within 5 years. While on the surface this may seem good for workers, this bill implements a long phase in period with severe carve outs for youth workers, farm workers, small business employees and seasonal workers. These workers cannot wait for the security that comes with a living wage.
This Monday the New Jersey State Assembly will be discussing a bill for $15 dollar an hour minimum wage. Call your legislators and let them know how critical it is that we pass a clean $15 an hour bill with no carve outs.