A Fair Deal for New Jersey Workers

 
 

New Jersey needs to be an easier place to live for working families.

Affordability is out of control in our district – but we can do more to ease that burden by implementing worker protections that ensure incomes keep pace with the cost of living, families are supported, and all people are are guaranteed a safe workplace free from discrimination.

Strong wage protections for women. Governor Murphy enshrined equal pay for equal work into law with the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, requiring for enhanced equal pay protections for all public employees in the state of New Jersey. I support efforts to pass and enforce similar laws on the national level, and explore mechanisms to ensure that the same protections are enforceable in the private sector.

Fighting for paid family leave. Starting a family or caring for a sick parent should not jeopardize a person’s economic future. The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not guarantee paid parental leave which has been proven to have overwhelming positive health and developmental impacts for the child, improved health outcomes for the mother, and increased economic security for both parents.  

To live in New Jersey, workers need to earn a living wage – and New Jersey has been leading the fight for $15. Our district has among the highest costs of living in the country, with a survival wage for a single working adult of $13.78 per/hr, in the least expensive parts of the state. Low wages trap our workers in a cycle of poverty that limits their ability to advance their economic futures, provide for their families and grow our economy. That’s why I will be a strong fighter for a $15 minimum wage nationally.

 

Empowering our unions. Our workers must be permitted to bargain on an even playing field. In Congress I will fight against the Conservative attack on collective bargaining rights in this country to ensure that New Jersey’s laborers can take control of their own futures.

Workplace Safety and Worker Misclassification. Too many workers have been injured or killed on the job because of loose or neglected safety regulations. This needs to end. Ending worker misclassification is a big step towards this ultimate goal.  I am committed to fighting back against the underground economy that’s crippling New Jersey’s construction industry and leading to unskilled workers on unsafe job sites. According to a recent Stockton University study, worker misclassification could be costing union shops as much as $16 billion annually and has led to a dramatic increase in job site accidents. I will work to strengthen the state’s ability to identify and punish misclassification and other forms of wage theft. Stronger enforcement means more highly skilled workers on safer job sites, better wages, and a better environment for our building trades unions.

Protecting the Prevailing Wage. Paying our workers the wage they deserve means more highly skilled workers, safer job sites, safer buildings, and projects far more likely to finish on time and on budget. Labor accounts for less than a quarter of construction costs in New Jersey.  Balancing our budget on the backs of our workers doesn’t make sense for New Jersey and I will be the first and loudest voice in the House opposing any effort to undermine prevailing wage.