Author Archive: Yarrow

A Meaningful Minimum Wage Increase

Yarrow Willman-Cole is an Organizer at NJ Citizen Action. – Rosi

I’m going to ask you to make a 30 second phone call to Governor Christie, Blue Jersey. Here’s why it’s important.

A higher minimum wage is desperately needed in New Jersey.  Currently at $7.25 an hour, our state’s lowest paid full-time workers make only $15,080 a year, $4,000 below the poverty line for a family of three.  This is unacceptable in a state with one of the highest costs of living, where rent alone takes up over half of minimum wage workers’ monthly earnings.  A modest increase in the state’s minimum wage to $8.50 an hour will not only help New Jersey’s working families but will also boost our economy, generating millions of dollars in additional economic activity and creating thousands of additional jobs.  But unless the minimum wage is also adjusted annually based on cost of living increases (also called indexing), many households will continue struggle to make ends meet, their  spending and purchasing power will be limited, and the states’ economy will suffer.

Legislation that addresses this issue is curently sitting on Governor Christie’s desk and he has until January 28 to take action on it.  A2162(S3) will raise the state’s minimum wage to $8.50/hour and make annual adjustments based on increases in the cost-of-living.  But Governor Christie has publicly stated that he opposes indexing, despite it being a key protection in preventing the continuing erosion of the value of minimum wage.

Health Care Reform Matters to Women in New Jersey

Yarrow Willman-Cole is an organizer with New Jersey Citizen Action. Legislation to create the New Jersey health insurance exchange, A2171/S1319, is scheduled for a vote Thursday in the Assembly & Senate. To take action on tomorrow’s exchange bill vote, go here. NJCA operates a Helpline to assist callers in navigating the health care system. It’s 1-888-NJ-GET-WELL.

-promoted by Rosi

Michelle Obama delivered a compelling speech in 2009 about the importance of health insurance reform for women. The first lady, in recounting a story of the Obamas’ daughter Sasha’s meningitis scare, reminded us that health insurance is a personal issue.

Women are often the major decision makers on health issues for their families while facing numerous barriers to health care for themselves such as lack of coverage, out-of-pocket expenses, and more.  Basic health needs for women are more complex than for men, and routine screening and care, such as pap smears and mammograms are crucial in preventing and treating serious illness. This type of preventive care is often not covered by medical insurance policies or there are significant cost barriers.

In the United States, 20% of women between the ages of 18 and 64 are without any type of health insurance.  Even more staggering, 39% of Latina women and 25% of African-American women are uninsured.  Of working women, only half are able to get health coverage through their jobs compared to 57% of men. When insured, many women are at higher risk of losing their insurance, since more women are employed in a part time situation without coverage, or are dependent on their spouse’s insurance. Many women are priced out of coverage on the individual private insurance market since insurance companies are able to gender discriminate and frequently charge more for health care plans for women.