New Jersey on verge of reclassifying truckers?

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 5/31/2013

A bad bill for the trucking industry is headed to the New Jersey governor’s desk.

The New Jersey Senate voted 21-17 on Thursday, May 30, to approve a bill that would classify drayage truck operators and parcel drivers as company employees. A1578 now moves to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. Assembly lawmakers already approved the legislation that would deem port truckers, including owner-operators going onto a port, to be employees.

OOIDA and the New Jersey Motor Truck Association are opposed to the reclassification.

Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s executive vice president, calls the effort misguided and says it could result in a lot of businesses packing up and leaving the state. Instead, he said the state would be better served to look at federal rules to address any problem with misclassification in the state.

“Existing law determines whether someone is an employee or a contractor. It should be New Jersey’s model,” Spencer said. “A broad brush bill that reclassifies all contractors as employees is absolutely nuts.”

Gail Toth, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, said that bill supporters have told anyone who will listen that owner-operators want to be employees.

The legislative attack on driver classification follows a successful lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit brought by the American Trucking Associations. The truckers group sued Los Angeles over portions of its clean truck program, including an expensive concession requirement that all trucks entering the port would have to comply with.

The subsequent ruling confirmed that states cannot regulate the routes, rates or services of trucks engaged in interstate commerce.

The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the case.

OOIDA encourages New Jersey truckers to contact Gov. Christie’s office and let him know how you feel about A1578 by phone at 609-292-6000 or via email.

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

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