Business and workers’ advocates differ on impact of minimum wage deal

A deal on the long negotiated minimum wage bill that would affect over 1 million workers has been reached. Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin announced an agreement on legislation to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. The deal comes after months of debate and political wrangling.

If passed, the base minimum wage would increase to $10 an hour on July 1, 2019. It’ll increase $1 by the following January, and continue to increase by $1 increments every Jan. 1 until it reaches $15 in 2024.

That scale shifts a bit for seasonal and workers at businesses with five or fewer employees — reaching $15 an hour by Jan. 1, 2026.

Agricultural workers were a sticking point in the negotiation. The legislation would raise their wage to $12.50 an hour within five years.

Correspondent Briana Vannozzi spoke with New Jersey Business and Industry Association President and CEO Michele Siekerka; Analilia Mejia, the executive director of New Jersey Working Families; and NJTV News Senior Correspondent David Cruz about their thoughts on the breaking news.