Battleground LD1 Dems Go After Murphy

From left: Middle Twp. Committeeman Michael Clark, Land, and Andrzejczak.

Senator Bob Andrzejczak, Assemblyman Bruce Land, and Assemblyman Matt Milam tonight called attention to what they described as the widespread illegal abuse of workers in the construction industry. Despite the Governor’s promise to build a ‘stronger and fairer economy,” they said, it’s become an all too common to see full time workers classified as contractors, workers paid in cash, tax evasion, illegal work weeks, and wage theft in New Jersey. Team South Jersey is calling for an end to it.

“Governor Murphy claimed he’d put an end to these crimes,” said Andrzejczak, of the issue simmering with the unions for some time now.

“It’s been an empty promise,” the Democrat added.

The senator is running for reelection in a conservative district against an opponent whose first ad tried

Attorney Mike Testa making his Republican LD1 case in the Vineland law office founded by Judge Frank J. Testa.
Andrzejczak opponent attorney Mike Testa making his Republican LD1 case in the Vineland law office founded by Judge Frank J. Testa.

to tie Andrzejczak to the Democratic governor. It’s not the first time Andrzejczak has butted heads with the governor of his own party. In September, LD1 lawmakers, along with Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and with all Philadelphia TV stations present, held a press conference under the Boardwalk in Wildwood to announce new legislation that will allow TTF funds to be used to replace Boardwalks defunded by the governor.

“The administration keeps going after the little guy, trying to solve this problem one small enforcement at a time,” said Milam. “It doesn’t work that way. A Stockton university study showed that roughly 35,000 workers are off the books or illegally classified as independent contractors. The state is losing $25 million a year in tax revenue. We have to go after the biggest offenders in the industry. I was a small business owner. I know the right way to employ people. What I see in the real estate development industry is absurd.”

“Executive orders and a few Stop Work Orders aren’t enough,” said Land. “We need to treat people fairly. It’s time to actually crack down on the abuse that’s happening every day.”

The lawmakers on Oct. 21st received the following letter from Richard E. Tolson, director of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, locals four and five:

Tolson letter

Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo wrote a letter of explanation to Senator Andrzejczak, Assemblyman Land, and Assemblyman Milam. It follows:

“I have been made aware of your recent advocacy on the important issue of employee misclassification. As you are undoubtedly aware, we have been working diligently on misclassification since the start of this administration. Joined by our partners in other state agencies, in July, the Governor’s Task Force on Employee Misclassification issued recommendations to protect our workers and curb the illegal practice. The recommendations include administrative changes as well as legislative remedies to help curb the practice. I invite you to review the enclosed report and I look forward to working with you on legislative remedies.

“The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development takes these issues, and our statuary obligation to enforce the law, seriously. To combat the influx of employers violating our laws, we have increased our staffing to ensure swift investigation and enforcement of our laws. We are also strengthening our outreach efforts to the public and encourage anyone with information about violations to report them to us so we can open an investigation.

“Thanks to legislation passed and signed into law in 2010 (A3919), our department has another tool at our disposal and we are now able to revoke the business licenses of companies breaking our laws. The regulations were published in the New Jersey Register on September 16th and we look forward to working with you to identify bad actors in Legislative District 1 who’s business licenses deserve to be revoked.

“Deterrence is at the heart of our department’s efforts to combat misclassification. There is not a single business owner in the State of New Jersey who wants the public to know that he or she is cheating their employees and the state. That is why we publicize cases and settlements to inform other employers that there are consequences for breaking the law. The report of the Governor’s Task Force on Employee Misclassification also gave notice to employers that the Murphy administration views misclassification as a serious issue and we are prepared to utilize the resources of state government to help resolve it.

“We’re glad to hear from you on this important issue because to date, our department has not received any complaints about large employers emanating from your district. I welcome any referrals you may have of large employers violating our wage and hour laws by misclassifying their employees. Because of your concerns, we are happy to set up joint enforcement efforts in your district with investigators from our partners at the New Jersey Division of Taxation as well as our U.S. Department of Labor federal partners at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Wage Hour Division who have their own statutes regarding misclassification.

“My staff and I are available to meet at your convenience regarding any violations you might be privy to or we can use our current data to identify the largest employers in your district. We are also happy to assist in any press releases you may want to issue, or have us issue, about how your advocacy has led to these unprecedented investigatory and enforcement activities on businesses in Cape May and Cumberland Counties.”

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