Could New Jersey soon reclassify port, parcel truckers?

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Jersey lawmakers could soon take up for further consideration an effort to reclassify drayage truck operators and parcel drivers as employees.

Dubbed the “Truck Operator Independent Contractor Act,” the legislation would deem port truckers, including owner-operators going onto a port, to be employees.

The Assembly Labor Committee voted to advance the bill – A1578 – for further consideration on the Assembly floor. An identical bill – S1450 – could get Senate consideration in the weeks ahead.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, wrote in a statement attached to the bill that the proposed rule “creates a presumption that a work arrangement in the drayage trucking or parcel delivery trucking industry is an employer-employee relationship unless the party receiving the services can overcome the legal presumption of employment.”

Supporters of the reclassification in New Jersey claim that drayage and parcel truckers in the state are being misclassified.

The bill carries stiff penalties for employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors. Offenders would face criminal penalties.

Shortly after the bill was introduced early this year more than 20 truck and business groups, including OOIDA, joined together to oppose the bill. They say the changes sought would discourage any involvement with independent contractors.

Gail Toth, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, also cautioned that the changes called for in the bill could soon be expanded to affect a lot more than drayage and parcel truckers.

“No one will take a chance on doing business with owner-operators,” Toth told Land Line.

Toth encourages New Jersey owner-operators to get involved in the fight against reclassification.

“Independent drivers who want to remain independent and have their own business opportunities are in jeopardy here in New Jersey,” Toth said. “If they want to remain independent and continue to operate in New Jersey they need to speak up.”

OOIDA encourages New Jersey truckers to make any concerns about the bill known to state lawmakers.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the story topic. Comments may be sent to state_legislative_editor@ooida.com.

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