The Jersey City Council unanimously passed (9-0) a wage theft ordinance protecting workers and laborers from any Jersey City business entity failing to pay restitution to its aggrieved employees.
Preceding the council meeting where the final vote took place, Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro hosted a press conference on the importance of passing the wage theft legislation at Pedestrian Plaza, a symbol of continued growth and expansion of local businesses in Jersey City.
â€œIn the wake of all this incredible growth in Jersey City, we know that one of the pressing issues in the nation is the stagnating wages and growing income disparities,â€ said Lavarro.
City Councilmen Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, Frank Gajewski and Daniel Rivera were also in attendance to show their support for the measure.
â€œIâ€™m a product of immigration reform sitting on city council,â€ said Ramchal, â€œI will support this legislation.â€
â€œThis is an important step moving forward to make sure that someone who earns a big salary gets that money so Iâ€™m 100% supportive of this,â€ stated Gajewski.
Councilman-at-large Daniel Rivera echoed the sentiment of his colleagues when addressing the press:
â€œItâ€™s good to know that we, the City Council and the administration of the Jersey City, are proactively looking that bad practices donâ€™t happen.â€
Workers and labor advocates Lou Kimmel of New Labor, Johanna Calle of NJ Immigrant Justice Alliance, Craig Garcia of New Jersey City Working Families and Yves Nibungco of Filipino Immigrant Workers & Organizing Project, also spoke out about the importance of this ordinance.
Now that the ordinance passed, the City of Jersey City has the authority to suspend or deny business licenses of any Jersey City business entity that has failed to pay restitution to its aggrieved workers within 90 days the entity has been found liable. Businesses also have the option for an appeal.
â€œJersey City workers can take comfort in knowing they have some recourse when they feel that they have been cheated of their fair share of wages,â€ claimed Lavarro.