The New Jersey Business & Industry Association today urged Senators to vote against increasing the minimum wage to $17.98 per hour for subcontracted workers at Newark Airport, Hoboken Terminal and Newark Penn Station. The vote on A-4870/S-3226 is scheduled for this afternoon.
In addition to a $17.98 minimum wage, the bill would mandate paid sick leave, paid vacation, and $4.27 an hour worth of supplemental wages, effectively bringing hourly wages to $22.25.
“No business can withstand a more than 100 percent increase in the minimum wage,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka. “This bill would make it harder for businesses to compete because they would be forced to increase their prices or lay off workers to pay for it. It would also create an unfair, two-tier system where businesses have to compete against other businesses in the same city that are not subject to the higher wages and benefits.
“Businesses cannot stay competitive when the law forces them to pay wages that are twice as high as their competitors,” Siekerka said. “This is another example of legislation that, if enacted, would make New Jersey a less attractive place to do business.”
The bill applies to subcontracted transportation center service workers at Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark Penn Station and the Hoboken Terminal who perform jobs such as cargo related and ramp services, passenger handling services, cleaning services, and concessions.
Siekerka noted the legislation circumvents the collective bargaining process by imposing wage and benefit increases for workers by statute, instead of through contract negotiations. The $17.98 minimum wage represents a 110 percent increase over the current minimum wage in New Jersey.
The legislation would create an unfair two-tiered wage system: one for workers within the three transit hubs and one for nearby businesses outside those hubs, Siekerka said.
Update 3:15 p.m.: The Senate voted 23-15 to approve A-4870 and sent it to the Governor.