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Bayonne council raises municipal employee minimum wage to $15 per hour

The city council unanimously approved the resolution proposed by City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski

The Bayonne City Council met in person, with virtual options, on Feb. 16 in the council chambers at City Hall at 630 Avenue C.

The Bayonne City Council has approved a resolution raising the minimum wage for municipal employees to $15 per hour.

The council voted to up the minimum wage for city workers from its current $13 per hour to $15. According to the resolution, the minimum wage will be raised for any and all municipal employees retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year.

The resolution authorizes and directs the Department of Finance and Administration to implement budgetary and payroll action. The departments are to utilize funding by the American Rescue Plan, to the greatest extent legally permissible, to fund the differential between the state minimum wage and city minimum wage.

Ashe-Nadrowski’s resolution passes

The resolution was proposed by City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, who is running for mayor against Mayor James Davis in the upcoming May 10 municipal election. Ashe-Nadrowski proposed the resolution, with support from Second Ward City Councilman Sal Gullace, prior to the council caucus meeting on Feb. 9.

“A $15 minimum wage for Bayonne City employees is a step in the right direction not only for our employees, but for our local economy,” said Ashe-Nadrowski. “City employees don’t just work in Bayonne, they live here, spend their money here and raise their families here. An investment in them is an investment in the success of our whole community.”

While New Jersey is already set to raise the minimum wage to $15, but that won’t take effect until 2024. And that timeline does not match the needs of Bayonne, according to Ashe-Nadrowski, prompting her to reiterate previous calls to increase the minimum wage for municipal employees that she said received pushback from the Davis Administration.

“Our city employees work hard and their morale is important,” Gullace stated. “They’re part of our team as a city and it’s time that they earn a living wage.”

Three or 49 employees impacted?

In response to their proposal, Davis campaign spokesperson Phil Swibinski said the minimum wage hike would only affect three employees.

“As Councilwoman Nadrowski surely knows, every full-time municipal employee in Bayonne already makes at least $15 per hour, with the exception of three employees whose hourly salaries are currently less than a dollar under that mark. While Mayor Davis is open to the idea of increasing hourly wages for them and for the small number of part-time employees who are under that threshold, he is committed to balancing the need to compensate city employees fairly with keeping spending under control to protect Bayonne taxpayers.”

At the Feb. 16 meeting, Ashe-Nadrowski said that the raise in the minimum wage would affect nearly 50 employees.

“I just want to correct something on this,” Ashe-Nadrowski said. “I know there was a statement put out by the mayor’s spokesperson saying that this minimum wage increase would only affect three employees. But in fact I have a report by our payroll. It affects 44 employees and five additional employees if we include seasonal, which are covered under the law. So it’s a total of 49 employees affected by it.”

The council voted unanimously (5-0) to pass the resolution.

In a later statement, Ashe-Nadrowski added: “I am proud to have championed this initiative for the betterment of Bayonne as a whole. The approval of this proposal is a victory not only for our dedicated city employees, but for the local economy. While Mayor Davis fumbled over objections to the idea – first claiming the move would provide assistance to virtually no employees, and in the next breath suggesting it could have a negative impact on the municipal budget – I am happy that the City Council supported my Resolution, extending a living wage to 50 city employees and those to come in the future.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com. 

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