The Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously approved (9-0) a measure urging the state legislature to implement a $15 per hour minimum wage in New Jersey.
Several advocates for a statewide minimum wage increase took the podium at the regularly scheduled freeholder board meeting at 567 Pavonia Ave. in Jersey City.
“A large portion of our members are forced one-and-a-half or two full-time jobs to support their families and … because the cost of living is such, particularly in Hudson County and surrounding counties, that it is extremely difficult for workers working for those kind of wages to support their families effectively,” said Neil Gorfinkel, a member of SEIU Local 1199.
“In 2014, a woman was found dead, a woman named Maria Fernandez, died sleeping in her car between low-wage jobs. She worked four part-time jobs at Dunkin’ Donuts earning minimum wage,” said Brian Powers, a 15 Now New Jersey organizer.
“Since she passed away, minimum wage has gone up 13 cents in this state and it will not go up again next year. At this point in our country, 42 percent of all U.S workers make under $15 per hour and average wages are an all time low across the country.”
Jersey City Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2) took a moment to remind the speakers on hand that the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders was the first government entity in New Jersey, and just the second county in the United States, to pass a living wage law over 10 years ago – which is frequently updated.
The affirmative vote makes Hudson County’s freeholder board the second in the state to urge for a $15 an hour minimum wage, with Essex County’s board being the first (h/t NJ Advance Media).