African-American Chamber: Amending Constitution for wage hike bad policy

TRENTON – The head of the N.J. African-American Chamber of Commerce sought to counter perceptions of the association’s stance on the minimum wage hike question facing voters today.

Responding to some organized labor grumbling earlier that the Chamber seemed in opposition, President and CEO John Harmon said the group did not take an official stance for or against the question of raising the minimum wage to $8.25.

It did distribute information received from other business groups in the state, he acknowledged.

In general, the Chamber supports the concept of increasing the wage by $1, but it opposes the method being used: amending the Constitution and including a cost-of-living provision.

“I think reasonable minded business owners would not object to an increase in the minimum wage,’’ Harmon said.

Cementing it in the Constitution is a problem, he warned. “It’s an abuse of power’’ to go about it this way, because it takes protections from business owners during a recession.

“It’s bad policy’’ to take the approach the Legislature did, he said. 

The referendum has been a hotly contested issue this election season, with groups such as the N.J. Business and Industry Association predicting dire consequences for workers and their hours, and advocates dismissing such doom and gloom.

African-American Chamber: Amending Constitution for wage hike bad policy