Newark — Phil Murphy, Democratic candidate for governor, today reaffirmed his commitment to signing an “equal pay for equal work” law in New Jersey on the heels of a new study that shows New Jersey has the nation’s second-worst lifetime pay gap between African-American women and their white male counterparts.
The report, released Tuesday and the subject today of an analysis by the Star-Ledger, shows that African-American women in New Jersey would have to work, on average, nearly 29 years longer than their male colleagues to make the same lifetime pay. In addition, African-American women in the state receive an average wage of only 58 cents for every $1 made by their male counterparts.
Murphy said the shocking discrepancies prove the need for New Jersey to enact strong pay equity laws to close the wage gap, an idea vetoed by Chris Christie. Murphy noted that even Massachusetts’ Republican Gov. Charlie Baker — whom Christie supported in 2014, and who also endorsed Christie for president — signed an equal pay law into effect in his state earlier this month.
“When a pro-business, conservative Republican signs an equal pay law, it really takes the air out of Chris Christie’s argument that simply paying people doing the same job the same wage is somehow a bad thing,” said Murphy. “Chris Christie may be afraid to make ‘equal pay for equal work’ the law, but I’m not.”
The Massachusetts law Baker signed also contains the nation’s first prohibition on potential employers asking for a salary history, meaning a worker’s salary must be based on the actual job, not their prior pay. Murphy said New Jersey must enact similar legislation.
“The salary one earns should be determined only by the job they are hired to do, not by the jobs they held in the past,” said Murphy. “New Jersey should rightfully be a national leader in eliminating discriminatory pay policies. As governor, I will see that we are.”
Murphy said that enacting strong equal pay laws would not only close the wage gap among women and men, but would allow families easier access to the middle class as wages rise, which also would spur economic growth as those families become more active consumers, and would also enable them to save for their futures.
“There is simply no good argument that can ever be made for allowing people to be paid less just because of their gender, race, or even their prior job,” said Murphy.