Parsippany Focus: Governor Joins Parsippany’s Earth Friendly Products to Support $15 State Minimum Wage

By Frank L. Cahill
Parsippany Focus, Dec 11, 2018

PARSIPPANY — Governor Phil Murphy today joined Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, the president and CEO of Earth Friendly Products®, maker of more than 200 ECOS® brand green cleaning products, at the company’s Parsippany manufacturing plant located at 50 Lackawanna Avenue, to support a $15.00 state minimum wage and demonstrate how the company’s investment in its employees is fundamental to its long-term business success. Earth Friendly Products, which has operated in New Jersey for 30 years, starts employees at $17.00 an hour and increased its investment in the state’s economy and environment by opening a Parsippany facility in 2015 that is carbon neutral and Zero Waste Platinum certified.

Introducing Governor Phil Murphy was Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor Michael Soriano. Soriano said “Parsippany is a great place to live, it’s also a great place to do business, even manufacturing. Earth Friendly Products takes care of its employees and worries about and takes cares of its environment. Right now, in the State of New Jersey if you work minimum wage for about 40 hours per week, for 52 weeks, no sick time, no vacation time you are going to make about $17,800 a year. That not a way to live. Think about that for one second. $17,800. I stand with Governor Murphy on promptly promoting our $15.00 minimum wage in the State of New Jersey. Our workforce deserves the same quality of living and standard that everyone enjoys. I am proud of Earth Friendly Products, with their line of ECOS products, operating right here in Parsippany. More money in employees pockets, means more money is being spending here in Parsippany, restaurants and retails stores. It’s going to boost our local economy and it’s going to help New Jersey. Contributing to a thriving small business culture.”

New Jersey legislators are considering legislation that would raise the state minimum wage to $15.00. Earth Friendly Products, a member of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, strongly supports raising New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15.00 an hour for all workers because it will boost consumer demand, benefit businesses in the form of lower employee turnover and increased employee productivity, and is vital to creating a sustainable economy.

“We know from our own experience that raising the minimum wage to $15.00 will help businesses and employees thrive,” Vlahakis-Hanks said. “We start employees at $17.00 an hour and provide great benefits while selling our products at competitive prices. Investing in our employees has improved our profitability, productivity, employee retention, quality control, customer satisfaction and ability to innovate and grow. Our products are produced in our U.S. facilities in New Jersey, California, Illinois and Washington state. We’re proud to say that our employees are our greatest brand ambassadors.”

ECOS® brand laundry detergent, household cleaners, baby products and pet products are sold at competitive prices in outlets ranging from small retailers to giants like Costco, Walmart and Target. Established in 1967, Earth Friendly Products attributes its decades of success to investing in employees, as well as breaking barriers in green science.

“A $15 minimum wage will not only lift up the current generation of New Jersey working families, but ensure fairness and opportunity for future generations,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “For the more than one million New Jersey workers who earn less than $15.00 an hour, the Legislature needs to act immediately to provide working families with the raise they need to live secure lives. A $15.00 minimum wage is integral to building a stronger and fairer New Jersey.”

Vlahakis-Hanks sees a fair state minimum wage as a powerful tool in stimulating across-the-board economic growth, from the neighborhood corner store to leading manufacturers like Earth Friendly Products.

“Raising the minimum wage creates a virtuous cycle of rising wages, consumer demand and job creation,” Vlahakis-Hanks said. “I can’t think of a faster, more direct way to boost the local business economy—yes, including sales of our cleaning products—than to put more money in the pockets of New Jersey workers. It’s a pro-business policy that I’d like to see extended to all New Jersey businesses and workers.”

Today’s plant tour and press conference comes as legislators weigh $15.00 minimum wage legislation. Last week, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin introduced a bill that puts New Jersey’s minimum wage on a path to $15.00 an hour by January 2024 for some workers while businesses with fewer than 10 employees would not reach $15 until January of 2029—more than a decade from now.

“Rebranding Shop Small as Pay Small is the last thing small businesses need,” said Business for a Fair Minimum Wage CEO Holly Sklar. “We support a clean minimum wage bill that treats employees at businesses of all sizes the same—not giving employees of large corporations a raise, while workers at small businesses lag far behind. That would hurt New Jersey’s small businesses and diminish the consumer spending boost that comes from raising wages. Shortsighted small businesses that pay the lower minimum wage would have trouble hiring, see an increase in turnover as employees look elsewhere for pay they can live on, and undercut the customer service that keeps people coming through their doors.”

Earth Friendly Products has five plants located in Parsippany; Cypress, California; Addison, Illinois; Lacey, Washington and Athens, Greece.

Earth Friendly Products is a proud member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce.

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