ATLANTIC CITY — Touting worker-friendly legislation passed since January, Gov. Phil Murphy told an organized labor convention his administration has done more for New Jersey workers in five months than his predecessor did during two full terms.
Speaking Tuesday morning at the AFL-CIO's annual convention at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center, Murphy listed several pro-labor actions, including equal pay for women, a new contract for the Communications Workers of America and the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act, which he said improved the lives of workers in the state.
Murphy, a Democrat, said that while the list did not include all of the administration’s efforts to assist labor, it was more than former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, did from 2009 to 2017.
“I don’t think I need to remind anyone that it’s a lot more than we accomplished over the entirety of the previous eight years,” he said.
Murphy said that going forward, New Jersey was going to focus on improving its transportation infrastructure and expanding its renewable energy infrastructure, both areas that will create “jobs I see filled by union labor.”
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-4th, also praised the efforts of organized labor Tuesday, telling the attendees that unions “level the playing field” and “make the workplace and America more just and fair.”
Noting anti-labor and pro-business actions taking place on Capitol Hill, 2nd Congressional District nominee and current state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, told the convention 2018 is a “flashpoint” year for labor in the country and that a “line in the sand” has been drawn in Washington.
“Labor will always have (a) voice,” Van Drew said. “We will prevail.”
In New Jersey, Murphy said he will continue to push for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and increased protections for collective bargaining.
Also in attendance Tuesday were U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, D-1st, and Democratic congressional nominee in New Jersey's 11th District Mikie Sherrill.