OOIDA issues call to action as NJ moves closer to trucker reclassification

March 7, 2013

A bill in the New Jersey Senate that would deem port truckers — including owner-operators going onto a port — to be employees moved one step closer to approval on March 4, spurring a call to action from the Owner-Operator Independent Driver’s Assn. (OOIDA).

The Senate Labor Committee voted 3-2 to advance the bill — the “Truck Operator Independent Contractor Act” — for further consideration on the Senate floor. An identical bill – A1578 – awaits Assembly floor consideration, according to OOIDA.

The independent trucker association has issued multiple calls to actions to New Jersey members on the issue. The association is encouraging affected truckers to make any concerns about the bill known to state lawmakers.

Supporters of the reclassification in New Jersey claim that drayage and parcel truckers in the state are being misclassified as owner-operators when they are in reality employees. The bill carries stiff penalties for employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors. Offenders would face criminal penalties, according to OOIDA.

OOIDA and more than 20 other truck and business groups joined together to oppose the bill. They said the changes sought would discourage any involvement with independent contractors.

“It should also be made clear to lawmakers that the reliance on owner-operators is not limited to the Port of New York and New Jersey,” OOIDA said in its call to action. “The changes sought in A1578/S1450 would run off trucks and discourage them from doing business in the state. Instead, the reliance on owner-operators is a widely used and reputable practice that should be encouraged as a way to stimulate New Jersey’s economy.”

OOIDA offers state Assembly and Senate members contact information at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/municipalities.asp. For more information call the OOIDA membership department at 800-444-5791.

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Deborah Whistler

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