As Trenton lawmakers try to line up a way forward on a statewide minimum wage and stare at numerous hurdles in the way, including a veto-threatening Gov. Chris Christie, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop this morning announced that he readjusted to $15 the minimum wage paid to all of his city employees.
There are 3,000 city workers in Jersey City. The order impacts those making the state minimum wage of $8.38 per hour and will cost the city between $1 million to $1.2 million in the budget this year.
“Today, Jersey City will be first city in New Jersey to enact a $15 minimum wage for all of our employees that work for city government,” said Fulop in a statement. “I can’t in good conscience advocate for something we haven’t implemented ourselves. So today, I signed an Executive Order that will adjust the salaries of 500 employees (nearly a quarter of the city’s work force) to ensure that working for Jersey City provides a base salary, which allows you to live in this region.
Fulop issued the order as Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) – the mayor’s rival for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2017 – attempts to wrangle a bill that would phase in a statewide minimum wage hike to $15 by 2021. Christie, Republicans lawmakers, and Democrats in battleground districts are either opposed or very cautious about the legislation.
The mayor and his political ally, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, first advocated last year for a minimum wage hike to double the state’s minimum.
“We championed this important cause when few elected officials were publicly stating the importance of this issue because we believed in advancing the ideals of working families,” Fulop said. “While we talked about it last year, I knew that we needed to be about more than words.”