For Immediate Release Wednesday, October 2, 2013 Contact -- Office of Freeholder Brendan Gill: (973) 621-6457 Babatunde Odubekun: (862) 902-3946

Essex County Freeholders Back Minimum Wage Increase
Resolution sponsored by Freeholder Brendan Gill calls on Essex County Voters to back a 14% increase in the statutory minimum wage. Newark -- Last week, Essex County’s freeholders sent a clear message to the voters they represent: Raise the Wage. When New Jersey voters go to the polls on November 5th, they will also face a ballot question asking whether the statewide minimum wage should be raised by $1 per hour. If approved, the proposal will raise the minimum wage to $8.25 per hour – a 14% increase over the current minimum pay rate. As it stands, the minimum wage in New Jersey is at the federally mandated minimum of $7.25 per hour. The Essex County Freeholders each took a turn at the microphone, applauding the state legislature for putting the issue on the ballot following a conditional veto of the wage increase by Governor Chris Christie earlier this year. Each of the freeholders has publicly endorsed democrat State Senator Barbara Buono (D-18) in her bid to unseat Chris Christie. Sen. Buono also supports the minimum wage increase, calling it an “atrocity” that the governor refused to sign the wage increase into law. Freeholder Gerald Owens spoke approvingly of the measure, commenting, “I commend Freeholder Gill for bringing forth this resolution.” Owens, who in addition to serving on the freeholder board is also a leader in the International Longshoremen’s Association AFL-CIO (ILA), continued, “This is an important resolution for the people of this county and this state, and I am proud to stand in support of this measure.” Brendan Gill, who notes the overwhelming support for the wage increase evident in recent polls conducted across the state, says that the measure will be highly beneficial to Essex County residents. “In Essex County, for a single parent, the minimum wage just isn’t enough to get by.” Gill said. “At $7.00 an hour, you’re at the poverty line, and you need at least three times that amount just to support your one child.” Gill, though optimistic that the measure will pass, notes other areas in which the state and national economies at large will have to change in order for residents to stay financially afloat. “The wage increase isn’t going to help much with student loans or mortgage debt; but the fact is, we haven’t seen an increase at all since Bill Clinton was president. It’s working adults who stand to benefit, and even if it’s a small increase, it’s a step in the right direction.” The data Gill references comes from The Living Wage Calculator, a project of Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which calculates the “living wage” for each county in the United

States by referencing data collected from federal agencies – including the US Departments of Agriculture, Labor, and Commerce – which collect pertinent data directly from residents of each state nationwide. ###

Brendan Gill represents the municipalities of Bloomfield, Belleville, Glen Ridge, Nutley, and Montclair on the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. He also serves as Chairman of the Montclair Democratic Party. For more information, visit or