New Jersey was one of the first states to recognize Labor Day in 1887. U.S. Congress made it a federal holiday seven years later in 1894 after the majority of states already observed the holiday. The head of a labor union based in New Jersey is given credit for starting the national holiday. Our state’s long progressive history of leading the support for workers rights is one reason I chose to live here.
Locally, I am pleased to be among the earlier group of small business employer who supported livable wages, even when this was quite unpopular with our local Chamber of Commerce organizations and many of my business neighbors. My companies adapted a $15 minimum wage rate more than a decade ago.
Times have changed and so now we can’t hire at that rate or at any profitable rate. Productivity has not increased to justify higher wages – exactly as my business peers accurately predicted.
Now I am pleased to be working on the massive task of redesigning micro businesses to eliminate or reduce reliance on labor – an issue that is likely to be among our most problematic and contentious economic and political considerations for decades to come.