New Jersey became the latest state boost its hourly minimum wage to $15 after Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a measure phasing in the higher rate over five years and more in Monday’s Markets In Brief.
Murphy signed the bill alongside Democratic legislative leaders in Elizabeth after the trio announced a deal on the higher wage last month.
New Jersey joins California, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia in phasing in the higher rate. The $15 wage is a prominent policy goal of left-leaning groups, as well as the fulfillment of a key campaign promise by Murphy.
“Working families deserve financial security. A higher minimum wage will support families, strengthen our economy, and help make New Jersey more affordable,” Murphy said in a tweet announcing his plan to sign the legislation Monday.
Republicans and many businesses, though, testified during hearings that the higher wage will increase costs and hurt commerce.
The bill raises the current $8.85 minimum wage to $10 an hour in July, and then increases the rate by $1 in subsequent years until it reaches $15 in 2024, but not for all workers.
Farm workers’ wages will climb to $12.50 over five years, for example. Small businesses with and seasonal employees would see their minimum wage reach $15 an hour in 2026. Tipped workers, who currently have a minimum hourly wage of $2.13, would see it climb to $5.13 an hour by 2024.
MARKETS IN BRIEF
General Motors Starting White-Collar Layoffs This Week
General Motors is starting to lay off about 4,300 white-collar workers worldwide this week.
In November, the company said it wanted to cut 8,000 salaried and contract workers so it can raise profit margins and invest more in autonomous and electric vehicles.
The company says 2,200 white-collar employees took buyouts, while another 1,500 contract workers were let go.
Many of the layoffs will happen at GM’s technical center near Detroit. Most work on components for internal combustion engines and discontinued car models.
GM also plans to close one Canadian and four U.S. car factories, shedding another 5,000 jobs. But 2,700 U.S. workers will be offered jobs at other factories.
GM says the layoffs are part of a restructuring will add up to $2.5 billion to its bottom line this year.
Gannett Turns Down $1.36B Buyout Offer
The publisher of USA Today and other newspapers is rejecting a $1.36 billion buyout from a hedge-fund backed media group with a history of taking over newspapers and slashing jobs.
MNG Enterprises, better known as Digital First Media, made its unsolicited bid of $12 per share last month.
Gannett Co. said Monday that its board determined the offer undervalued the company and it isn’t in the best interests of the company or its shareholders. It was a unanimous vote.
The newspaper industry is consolidating as the media market grows increasingly fragmented. In recent weeks companies including Gannett, Verizon and Buzzfeed have announced layoffs.
Digital First has a reputation for stringent, painful cost-cutting. Its biggest shareholder is Alden Global Capital LLC, a New York hedge fund that invests in distressed companies.
Equity Firm Buys Ultimate Software for $11 Billion
A Florida software company is being purchased by a California private equity firm for $11 billion.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that Ultimate Software announced Monday that it’s being purchased by San Francisco-based Hellman & Friedman. Ultimate will continue operation under its founder and CEO, Scott Scherr.
The 29-year-old company is based in a Fort Lauderdale suburb and provides human resources and payroll software for such companies as Subway, Red Roof Inn and Yamaha Corp. of America. It has about 5,000 employees and Fortune magazine has rated it the country’s top tech employer four years in a row.
Scherr says the sale will allow the company to provide new services and continue its expansion. The sale is expected to make some longtime employees millionaires through their stock ownership.
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