Since New Jersey shed itself of Chris Christie, things have been looking up. And now around a million of the state’s low-wage workers will be getting a raise. Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders reached an agreement on $15 minimum-wage legislation, something Christie had previously vetoed.
Under the plan, most workers would get a $15 minimum wage in 2024. The first raise will come July 1, to $10 from the current $8.85, then rise by a dollar a year until it reaches $15. Once it reaches $15, it will be adjusted for inflation annually. The tipped-worker minimum wage will rise gradually from $2.13 an hour to $5.13 an hour.
Exceptions to $15-in-2024 include workers at businesses with five or fewer employees and seasonal workers, who will take longer to reach $15, and farm workers, who will get to $12.50 in 2024 and then be at the mercy of state officials to decide whether they should eventually reach $15. Because … farm work isn’t hard enough to be worth $15 an hour? There sure are always people lined up to demand crappy concessions on worker-friendly bills. But one key attempt at undermining the policy was defeated, and teen workers will get the full $15 in 2024.
As is so often the case, it’s imperfect but a huge step forward. And coming the same week as congressional Democrats introduced a $15 minimum-wage plan, it reinforces that the country, if not the Republican Party, is on the right path on this issue.
This blog was originally published at Daily Kos on January 19, 2019. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Laura Clawson is labor editor at Daily Kos.