Jersey City Municipal Council
Jersey City Municipal Council

Also Regulates Crane Operators

At its meeting Wednesday night, the Jersey City Municipal Council unanimously adopted “pay transparency” regulation for Jersey City employers and passed new rules for outdoor dining and crane operators.

Acknowledging that “women earn 84% of what men make for the same work or position; minorities and minority women are paid even less for the same work or position,” the new law states, “An employer, with their principal place of business within … Jersey City and which uses any print or digital media circulating within the city to provide notice of employment opportunities, shall be required to post a minimum and maximum salary and/or hourly wage, and benefits to [that] posting or advertisement in the city.”

Employers with four or fewer workers will be exempt.

As per state law, the city regulation notes, “It shall be unlawful for a New Jersey employer to screen a job applicant based on the applicant’s salary history or to require that the applicant’s salary history satisfy any minimum or maximum criteria.”

Violations of the law “may be reported to the city’s Office of Code Compliance (OCC) or to the Women’s Advisory Board for referral to the OCC.”

The council authorized the creation of an 11-member volunteer Women’s Advisory Board late January although its prime sponsor, Council President Joyce Watterman, told the Jersey City Times it has yet to be fully constituted. The new ordinance stipulates that the board may help publicize and implement the pay transparency regulation.

The ordinance states that “pay transparency will help attract and retain the best talent, foster a better work environment through unity and trust within an organization or company, and ensures that residents of the city are paid fairly and equally in comparison to their colleagues.”

The law does not say how pay transparency guarantees or ensures pay equity.

In contrast, In 2018, the state legislature passed a pay equity law that forbids employers to pay women at a lesser rate than other employees who do “substantially similar work” unless it can be justified on the basis of training, experience, education or a seniority or merit system.

Violators of the state law are subject to back pay and triple damage awards; the statute of limitations for an offense is six years.

Nevertheless, Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley said having this new law on the books will give the city another weapon to help women combat gender bias in pay.

The council commended Shannon Dwyer, an intern to Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh, for having done research that informed the drafting of the new ordinance.

In other business, the council restructured its regulations and fees governing the use of retail sidewalk cafes and parklet permits and adopted permit requirements for the operation of construction cranes.

For outdoor dining, restaurant owners now can choose to apply for a full-year sidewalk café license conditional on installing “semi-permanent shelter structures and heating/ventilation devices” or a seasonal license permitting operation “only during warm weather months … from March 15 to Nov. 30 of the same year.”

License applicants “must possess a valid ‘Class A’ Jersey City Health Food Establishment license in order to be eligible for a Sidewalk Café License and Parklet Permit” and “applicants with underground conduits beneath their parklet must grant temporary access to any city staff or public utility company when necessary” and must “agree that necessary road resurfacing work done by either the city or a utility company may require temporary removal of all or a portion of the constructed parklet to provide access.”

For 2022, the city is reducing Sidewalk Café and Parklet permit fees fifty percent. On that basis, the fee for a seasonal parklet is $1,917 plus $383 for administrative costs; the fee for a seasonal sidewalk café license is $225 for seating up to 16 patrons and $275 for seating more than 16, plus a $100 inspection fee.  The fee for a year-round parklet is $2,682 plus $536 for administrative costs, and the fee for a year-round sidewalk café license is $300 for up to 16 patrons and $350 for more than 16 plus a $100 inspection fee.  For seasonal and year-round sidewalk cafés and parklets, additional fees for traffic, zoning and planning, construction and fire code permits may apply.

To ensure the safe operation of cranes on construction sites, the city is requiring applicants to produce a crane operator certificate from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, Operating Engineers Certification Program or Crane Institute of America;  a New Jersey crane license; a current medical examiner’s card; current proof of inspection for the crane being operated; insurance for bodily injury for any one person in the amount of $500,000 and for any occurrence in the amount of $1 million; and insurance for property damage for any one accident in the amount of $500,000 and for any aggregate of occurrences in the amount of $2 million; proof that the operator submits to a random drug testing program; and proof of completion of signal person qualification or certification course.

Also, the property owner must notify the city of every accident causing personal injury or damage to property involving a construction crane and must allow a municipal official access to the site “to make a prompt examination into the cause of the accident and to enter a full and complete report … in the records of the city.” If the accident results in damage to the crane, “It shall be unlawful to use [the crane] until after an examination by the municipality is made and approval of the equipment for continued use is granted.” Finally, “Every crane shall be inspected before being erected or operated for the first time on any job.”

Unauthorized crane operators will be subject to a fine ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for each violation. Any person or company employing an unlicensed crane operator can be fined from $2,000 to $20,000 per violation.

Ron Leir has been a journalist since 1972. That includes a 37-year stint as a reporter, copy reader and assistant editor with The Jersey Journal, followed by a decade as a reporter with The Observer in...