In light of the New Brunswick Mayor’s newfound support for a $15 minimum wage, Mayoral Candidate Charlie Kratovil is calling on the incumbent to introduce an ordinance to increase wages for the dozens of city workers who earn far less for their public service.
On October 11, seven-term Mayor Jim Cahill seemed to back state legislation that would establish a $15 per hour minimum wage for all workers, without any exceptions or carve-outs, even though his own administration still pays some workers $8.60 per hour.
“My opponent has had 27 years to raise wages for the workers who serve our city, but he’s still paying some of them the state’s bare minimum wage: just $8.60 per hour,” said Kratovil. “Nevertheless, I welcome him to the fight for $15 and encourage him to put his words into action by raising the wages that he directly controls.”
On Labor Day, Charlie rolled out his own detailed plan to raise wages for about 175 of the lowest-paid city workers on Labor Day. Charlie’s plan would lead to all city workers earning at least $15 per hour by January 2021.
By contrast, Mayor James Cahill’s administration currently pays about 75 city workers $10 or less for each hour that they serve the public, including employees of the city’s Recreation Department, Youth Services System, and the New Brunswick Free Public Library.
Two days after Charlie laid out his plan, the Mayor’s administration announced it would give raises to about 50 crossing guards, bringing the starting hourly pay rate from $12.50 to $13.50.
Those raises will take effect on October 22, leaving about 140 city workers earning less than $15 per hour.
“I sincerely hope that my opponent’s administration will do the right thing and introduce additional legislation to raise the wages of the other workers whose pay rates remain in stark contrast to his professed support for a higher minimum wage,” said Kratovil.
The current administration has also spread disinformation about Charlie’s plan, making an unsubstantiated claim that “several individuals” would somehow earn less under the plan.
“Under your increase there are several individuals who will end up making less than what they would get under the current administration,” one employee of the Mayor’s Office wrote to Kratovil in an online exchange in the “New Jersey Resistance” Facebook group.
It’s not the first time that the incumbent Mayor’s machine has spread inaccurate information about what Charlie stands for. The same employee previously implied that Charlie wants to downgrade the city’s career Fire Department to volunteer status, a baseless claim that the official declined to retract.
“The truth is that I am the only candidate in this race who has pledged to take a concrete action to support the fight for $15,” said Kratovil. “The Mayor’s team should spend more time developing a platform of their own and less time trying to mislead the public about my positions.”