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Village President Advocates Opportunity to Compete Act

South Orange Village President Alex Torpey and Maplewood Mayor Victor De Luca attended an event to support a bill concerning employment rights for people with criminal records.

South Orange Village President Alex Torpey. Credit: New Jersey Institute For Social Justice.
South Orange Village President Alex Torpey. Credit: New Jersey Institute For Social Justice.

South Orange Village President Alex Torpey and Maplewood Mayor Victor De Luca joined mayors throughout the state, Thursday, to show support for the New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act.

The New Jersey State Legislature is anticipated to take action on the the bill, (S2586), this month, which concerns employment rights for people with criminal records.

“The Opportunity to Compete Act removes artificial and unfair obstacles to employment for the one in four adults who have criminal records and gives New Jersey business owners a wider choice of prospective employees,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop, the host of the event.

The bill is intended to provide economic and social opportunities, increase productivity, health and safety of NJ communities by removing obstacles to employment for people with criminal records, according to the document.

“Today over 90 percent of employers ask job-seekers on the initial job application whether they have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime, and checking ‘yes’ usually means the application will be thrown in the garbage and the job-seeker will not be considered at all,” said De Luca.

“This anti-competitive blanket policy hurts our kids and grandkids, who all too often get caught up in today’s zero tolerance policies, whether it be from a college fraternity prank or getting caught smoking something stronger than tobacco,” he added. “At first I thought this issue didn’t affect Maplewood, but after speaking with folks I realized people in my community and in every community throughout New Jersey are affected. These are our children, grandchildren, sisters and brothers. They are not strangers. They live in urban, suburban and rural municipalities throughout the state.”

“This is not just a local issue, but also a statewide issue,” agreed Torpey. “We need a uniform, statewide standard for businesses to follow.”

Other speakers included Edison Mayor Antonia Ricigliano, Senator Sandra B. Cunningham, Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley and Cornell William Brooks, Esq., President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

Click here fore more information on The Opportunity to Compete Act.

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