Two labor legislators in New Jersey have shepherded a package of “Buy American” bills through the state legislature. The bills were approved by the state Assembly during the final voting session of 2014. The state Senate passed the jobs-creation package in June.
A record-size class of 37 rank-and-file union members, representing 23 local unions from across all sectors of the labor movement, took part in the 18th annual New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates School Aug. 9–10 at the Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center in New Brunswick.
On Saturday, Working Families United for New Jersey Inc. (WFUNJ) and the Essex-West Hudson Central Labor Council launched a new initiative, “One Pathway, Many Voices, Stronger Communities,” to help aspiring Americans become U.S. citizens, register to vote and learn how the electoral process works. The program also will help DREAMer students renew their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals application.
Laurel Brennan, secretary-treasurer of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, received the Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer Award on March 30. The award is named for Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) late mother and is given annually to New Jersey women for their outstanding contributions to the state and their advocacy on behalf of New Jerseyans.
When women succeed, America succeeds, and the union movement and its female leaders are poised to make this a reality.
Equal pay, access to paid sick and family leave and quality health care are just some of the issues women will tackle March 7–8 at the New Jersey State AFL-CIO's 11th annual Women in Leadership Development (WILD) conference in East Brunswick, N.J.
Despite $1 million in pro-business propaganda spent to defeat it, a measure to raise New Jersey's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 passed overwhelmingly Tuesday, getting 61% of the vote. The ballot question also amended the state's Constitution to make the wage rise with inflation in the future. The business community trotted out the same tired, disproven claims that increasing the minimum wage would kill jobs and hurt the economy, but most New Jersey voters didn't buy it and voted to help the working poor get a much-needed boost in an expensive state.
Steven Fulop (D), mayor of Jersey City, N.J., will propose a bill next week that would require most businesses in the city to offer paid sick days to workers. Any company with 10 or more employees would have to provide up to five paid sick days annually. The bill is expected to pass, as much of the City Council is aligned with Fulop.
Dozens of women leaders from labor and community groups joined with state, county and local elected officials at the Statehouse today to support raising New Jersey’s minimum wage and to commemorate Women’s Equality Day—the day the 19th Amendment was certified, granting women the right to vote. Speakers explained how approving the minimum wage ballot question would advance the fight for women’s equality in New Jersey and help to close the opportunity gap for thousands of women in the state who struggle to make ends meet in minimum wage jobs. Out of all minimum wage workers in New Jersey, some 60% of them are women.
With the federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25 an hour and an increase facing stiff opposition from congressional Republicans, coalitions of union, community, faith and other groups are mobilizing to win increases in state and local minimum wage levels. Here’s a look at some recent wins and campaigns where AFL-CIO state federations and central labor councils are playing big roles.