Minimum Wage

Yesterday (November 19) I went to Trenton to voice NOW's support for raising the minimum wage. As we organized for the noon press conference, I was twice moved from where I was standing to another spot. I ended up directly behind the speaker position. (This reminded me of the big outdoor rally at the 2002 Nashville conference where the same thing happened.) I was at the end of the speaker list, and decided it made no sense for me to repeat what the other speakers had already said. So here's the gist of what I said:

 

OF COURSE NOW supports an increase in the minimum wage. Economic justice is one of NOW's core principles, and a living wage is one aspect of economic justice. $8.50/hour is not a living wage, but it is a step in the right direction. Minimum wage workers are disproportionately women and people of color. We support whichever legislative path is successful - law or constitutional amendment. We thank the Democratic leaders who are making this a priority issue. {I looked toward Sheila Oliver when I said this.}

 

So that was it - short and to the point. Then Speaker Sheila Oliver spoke. Excerpts were broadcast on the nightly news on NJTV. As Rick has already noted, I am clearly visible standing directly behind Oliver, wearing my brand-new NOW-NJ button. After the press conference, many of us went over to the hearing room for the hearing scheduled for 1 PM. I had a nice time chatting with long-time fellow-activist Carol Gay. As we waited, news crews were interviewing people. (Again I see myself in the background in the NJTV coverage.) The hearing finally started at 1:50. They announced they were not looking to rehear a lot of minimum wage testimony that they already heard a week earlier. Then they started hearing a bill on shared services. I had already submitted a slip indicating no need to testify, so I just left.

NJTV story is at: http://www.njtvonline.org/njtoday/video/debate-over-minimum-wage-increase-continues/

Deb Huber

Legislative VP NOW-NJ