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NJ governor vetoes owner-operator bill

| September 11, 2013

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has used his strongest veto power against legislation that would have barred owner-operators from the drayage and parcel delivery service.

Christie issued an absolute veto against the Truck Operator Independent Contractor Act. This veto would require a two-third vote in each chamber to be overridden, or 27 votes from the Senate and 54 from the Assembly. The pocket veto, the only weightier option, could not be used because it is only applicable to bills passed within the last 10 days of the Legislature.

Christie said he was “especially troubled” the bill carried criminal penalties for companies that misclassify drivers, even when the misclassification was not willful. “Given that the inquiry as to whether a truck driver is an independent contractor or an employee is necessarily fact-sensitive, a prudent trucking business seeking to use the independent contractor model may choose to leave the state rather than risk criminal culpability,” he said.

Overseas shippers would likely deliver goods to ports in other states if carriers leave the state, Christie added.

Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski sponsored the legislation that the Senate passed 21-17 May 30, following a 43-30 Assembly approval. Christie’s veto allows unethical companies “to continue to skirt the law,” the Democrat assemblyman said.

The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, American Trucking Associations, New Jersey Motor Truck Association and New York Motor Truck Association were against the legislation.

The measure also was opposed by the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce, which represents North and Central New Jersey and the New York Metro area businesses. “In truth, the act is an attempt to force FedEx to stop using independent contractors here in New Jersey, as it now does for ground delivery, instead hire these or other drivers as employees and allow the Teamsters to attempt to unionize the resultant workforce,” the chamber stated.

  • Mark French

    Good for Governor Christie!

  • wp

    You got my vote Mr. Christie if you run for president. O/O

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Your kiding right ? He does one right thing , now he should president . The guy should be a demacrat , to start he would have the people disarmed , he was a D A , they are the bigest liars in the world , and i can go on and on , He is from the north east , have you ever lived up there , I got out of jersey when i was 19 . Pat Buchanan would make a good one .

  • martymarsh

    Don’t think he did this for you, he only did it to keep unions from totally controlling it.
    He is getting back to showing his republican side.

  • rc1234

    Obama and his goons will be calling Christie….this is not the Obama way….

  • otrdriver

    Who Cares about Obama “WORST PRESIDENT EVER”

  • Jerry

    There are few Owner Operator positions that pay good wages and have regular work hours: the affect, the Owner Operator can focus on a sound maintenance plan for his truck (small business) and find a measure of continuity…i.e. look forward to investing, buying a rental property or purchase of raw land with an eye on a small development.

  • jr023

    i am not familiar with drayage and fed ex ground had problems
    but the other small parcel, appliance, auto parts and contract courier have major problems some are small co. but others are owned by major company’s under subsidiary the payments are barely a wage but with no benefits mileage or vehicles the
    drivers are not even making the minimum wage and the salesmen of these company’s have be going to company’s who had delivery people and getting thousands.of drivers fired
    then they offer them about the same money they were making
    but the expenses are all the drivers and then you have to buy and wear there uniforms scanner signs sometimes paint the truck there color, they tell you what the rates are and you have no workman’s unemployment security and in my case it happened 2x i company had its authority revoked the other one sold 2 or 3 times in as many yrs.
    and the expansion of the independent contracting rules have been overextended in many industries way more than it should i would like to own my own vehicle but a person needs to make a living and if you invest in a business you should be able to make a profit on the investment also strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.