OOIDA issues Call to Action against worker classification bills

November 26, 2019

Mark Schremmer

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is asking its more than 160,000 members to speak out against two New Jersey bills that could negatively affect independent small-business truckers.

On Monday, Nov. 25, OOIDA issued a Call to Action to its members, requesting that they write or call the lawmakers who are pushing for the legislation in New Jersey.

The bills, S4204 and A5936, would enact the ABC test, which considers all workers to be employees unless the hiring business demonstrates that all of these factors are established:

A. That the worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.

B. That the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.

C. That the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.

 

This past September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law AB5, which codifies the California Supreme Court’s decision to establish the ABC test. The law, which is set to go into effect Jan. 1, is not exclusive to the trucking industry.

Opponents in the trucking industry have said that the B factor of the test could spell the end of the leased owner-operator model in the state. Some owner-operators in California have already reported to OOIDA that their motor carriers have said they will either need to sell their trucks and become an employee or relocate to another state.

After being unable to receive clear answers from officials in either state about how the legislation would affect owner-operators, OOIDA spoke out last week against the efforts in California and New Jersey.

“We have attempted to get answers, any answers from officials in California regarding their vision and enforcement on AB5. No one has any,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer said. “Absent any sort of direction or credible information, California should not allow AB5 to go into effect in January.”

With California’s law headed to court, OOIDA said New Jersey should not pass similar legislation.

“It’s apparent with the confusion in California that no state needs to move forward on overly broad legislation targeting independent contractors until lawmakers can articulate what any changes to current law would be,” Spencer said.

OOIDA also sent a letter to New Jersey lawmakers to state its concerns.

“Costly and lengthy litigation is likely a foregone conclusion absent significant changes in the state’s laws and regulations that deal with independent truckers,” OOIDA wrote.

OOIDA wants its members to contact the New Jersey lawmakers as well.

“New Jersey State Sen. Stephen Sweeney, State Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo and State Assemblyman Joseph Egan are leading this misguided legislative effort,” OOIDA wrote in its Call to Action. “We’re asking all of our members – not just those who reside in New Jersey – to call or email each of their offices and let them know how you feel about this.”

Contact information for the lawmakers is included in the Call to Action.

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, associate editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.