TRENTON – The Senate Labor Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday November 8, in Committee Room 1 of the State House Annex to discuss the need for better conditions for the State’s working poor.
Labor Committee Chairman, Senator Stephen M. Sweeney believes that this hearing is important to address and help correct the issues affecting New Jersey’s working poor.
“It’s time that we reconsider the way New Jersey’s workers are compensated for their efforts,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem. ” It’s a disgrace that people who work every day are still not able to make ends meet. Not everyone can find a job making $100,000 a year, and it’s my job, and the job of this committee to work toward some viable solutions to help ease the burden on the State’s working poor.”
One of the major issues to be discussed at the hearing is the State’s minimum wage. The Senate Democrats have introduced a number of measures this session, dealing with this issue.
Senator Sweeney introduced S-584, which would create criminal penalties for knowingly paying employees below minimum wage. Senate President Richard J. Codey, D-Essex introduced, S-1000, a measure designed to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $5.65. Both measures are currently awaiting action by the Senate Labor panel. Bergen County Senators Byron M. Baer and Joseph Coniglio also have a measure awaiting introduction that would concern civil actions for the recovery of unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation.
Scheduled to testify at Monday’s hearing are representatives of the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development, New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Legal Services, Lutheran Ministry, Catholic Charities, New Jersey Business and Industry Association, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the Association for Children of New Jersey.
“Constituents call my district office on a daily basis, complaining about how they are working two and three jobs, but are still not able to get health insurance for their children,” Senator Sweeney said. “Many of our forefathers came to this country because it was known as the ‘land of opportunity.’ It’s time these hard-workers’ problems are addressed, and for the State to work to fix the issues affecting its working class residents,” said Senator Sweeney.