A New Jersey bill attacking the independent contractor model at the ports has been vetoed.

A New Jersey bill attacking the independent contractor model at the ports has been vetoed.

UPDATED--New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie has rejected legislation regarding the “misclassification” of some truck drivers in the state as independent contractors rather than employees.

He has issued an absolute veto of A1578/S1450. The bill would have affected the business model regarding owner-operators in port drayage and the package delivery business, according to the New Jersey Motor Truck Association.

Labeled by the group as a “job-killing bill,” the measure would have created a presumption that a work arrangement in the drayage trucking or parcel delivery trucking industries is an employer-employee relationship, unless the party receiving the services can overcome the legal presumption of employment. 

The bill passed earlier this year along party lines, with no Republicans voting for it and several Democrats abstaining, according to NJMTA.

New Jersey Assembly Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski issued a statement in response to the veto of his bill.

"Governor Christie's veto of the Truck Operator Independent Contractor Act, legislation I sponsored to protect truck drivers who are incorrectly treated as contractors rather than employees, is just the latest example of the Governor siding against hard working New Jerseyans," he said. "His veto keeps in place a system that is unfair to workers and unfair to those companies that play by the rules."

"Because of the Governor's veto, unethical companies will continue to skirt the law by gaming the system to avoid paying their fair share of taxes," said Wisniewski. "In doing so, they will also continue to deprive their drivers of Social Security, Medicare, Workers' Compensation and Unemployment benefits."

NJMTA said the law would cause many trucking companies and owner-operators to leave the state -- along with many of their customers.

The bill was backed by organized labor.

The governor's absolute veto means legislation cannot become law unless the Legislature overrides the veto by a vote of at least two-thirds of the members of each chamber.

Update adds statement from New Jersey Assembly Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski.

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Evan Lockridge

Evan Lockridge

Former Business Contributing Editor

Trucking journalist since 1990, in the news business since early ‘80s.

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