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N.J. demonstrators rally for $15 minimum wage

Low-income workers rally across the street from New Jersey Statehouse in support of boosting the minimum wage to $15 an hour (photo by Phil Gregory)(Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Low-income workers rally across the street from New Jersey Statehouse in support of boosting the minimum wage to $15 an hour (photo by Phil Gregory)(Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Dozens of low-income workers rallied outside New Jersey’s Statehouse Thursday, urging lawmakers to phase in a $15 minimum wage.

Protester Shane Charles , who earns about $10 an hour at an aviation services company at Newark Airport, said he sometimes goes hungry because his $22,000 a year income isn’t enough.

A $15 an hour minimum wage would make a big difference, he said.

“This would mean victory for me. Going back to school, which I have put temporarily on hold. I would go back to school and pursue my degree in physical therapy, as well as opening an account and being able to save,” he said. “It’s a lot of things and a lot of dreams that I have.”

Yesenia Rosales said it’s difficult to get by on the $10.10 an hour she earns cleaning planes at Newark Airport.

“I can’t afford a lot of stuff with that money. I got a big family and sometimes they need my help when they need medical stuff and food and rent and all that stuff,” she said. “I try to help them, but the money that they give us is not enough.”

Business groups have said increasing the base pay to $15 would flatten business confidence and investment and stall job creation.

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