For NJ Lawmakers

THE SCOPE OF PEOPLE S4204/A5936 WOULD AFFECT IS MASSIVE

  • About 1 in 10 U.S. workers, or about 15.5 million people, are now independent contractors
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics, as of 2018, some 79 percent of independent contractors “preferred their arrangement over a traditional job”
  • Also according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, independent contractors tend to be older than other workers: More than 1 in 3 are at least 55 years old (and thus not likely to get new full-time jobs)
  • Not all freelancers are underpaid or exploited; a study by MBO Partners found that 1 in 5 freelancers earn more than $100,000 a year
  • Many freelancers are women. According to the IRS and U.S. Department of Treasury, the number of women who are primary household earners, and whose primary income is from independent contractor work, has increased by more than 90 percent since 2001
  • According to Harvard Business Review, 1 in 3 working Americans are freelancing. That’s about 57 million workers from a force of 160 million, up 4 million (13 percent) since 2014
  • More than a quarter of Americans now rely on the gig economy to supplement their income in some manner, and 1 in 10 rely on it as their primary source of income
  • The ABC test that S4204/A5936 would codify into law was written in the 1930s—when there was no such thing as the Internet, the country was mired in the Great Depression, most women did not work outside the home, and there was widespread unemployment and poverty
  • Today, unemployment is at its lowest level since 1969
  • The way we work, and the way we are able to choose to work, has changed a lot since the 1930s
  • That’s why California’s version of this regressive legislation is causing chaos across multiple industries. New Jersey lawmakers can avoid similar economic chaos by voting no on S4204/A5936

SENATE PRESIDENT STEVE SWEENEY KEEPS SAYING S4204/A5936 MERELY CODIFIES EXISTING LAW. THAT IS NOT TRUE

As attorney Christine A. Amalfe testified at the Senate Labor Committee hearing, the changes that S4204/A5936 makes to the C prong of the ABC test are particularly significant. The current language says that a worker must be “customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business” to be considered independent. The proposed new language says the worker must be “customarily engaged in an independently established business or enterprise of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.” Amalfe argued that the change could ensnare far more workers than lawmakers intend.

“The amendments presented today and the bill presented today will invite new interpretation, a broader reading of the current test and call into question the very case law you are telling us you want to codify,” she said.

SUPPORTERS OF S4204/A5936 ALSO KEEP SAYING THESE BILLS WILL ONLY HURT BIG, BAD-ACTING COMPANIES (THEY OFTEN CITE UBER) BUT THESE TYPES OF LAWS HIT THE LITTLE GUYS—INCLUDING LOCAL NJ NEWSPAPERS LIKE THE WESTFIELD LEADER THAT ARE JUST TRYING TO HIRE A FREELANCE WRITER TO COVER A SCHOOL BOARD MEETING FOR A FEW HOURS A MONTH

THERE IS NO BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR THIS TYPE OF LEGISLATION. THE ENTIRE NJ GOP, INCLUDING SENATE MINORITY LEADER TOM KEAN, IS UNITED IN OPPOSITION TO S4204/A5936

Read Senator Kean’s statement calling on Democrats including NJ Gov. Phil Murphy to stop attacking freelancers and the media.

NJ’S S4204/A5936 ARE SIMILAR TO CALIFORNIA’S AB5, WHICH IS FACING MAJOR PUSHBACK IN FEDERAL COURT ON THE GROUNDS THAT IT VIOLATES THE U.S. CONSTITUTION

On Dec. 31, 2019, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order to stop enforcement of AB5 in the trucking industry.

The American Society of Journalists and Authors is seeking a similar restraining order as part of its federal lawsuit against the State of California over AB5.

Uber and Postmates are seeking a similar restraining order as part of their federal lawsuit against the State of California over AB5.

S4204/A5936 ARE A 20TH-CENTURY APPROACH TO THE 21ST-CENTURY WORKFORCE. LISTEN TO THESE LAWYERS AND EXPERTS

Read how the National Law Review calls this type of legislation “a policy petri dish.”

Read the letter that Holly Kaplansky, president of the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners, sent to Gov. Phil Murphy, telling him that S4204/A5936 “will have a destructive effect on women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses in New Jersey.”

See how the Hoover Institution at Stanford University says, “The problem with New Jersey’s argument is that there is no unemployment among gig workers. They don’t need unemployment benefits. These laws are really nothing more than money grabs for state and local governments and politically important constituents, and should be recognized as such.”

Read how Law360 advises, “Instead of seeking to change existing law in a manner that would effectively eliminate the overwhelming number of independent contractors, legislators should instead seek greater enforcement of existing laws including existing tests for independent contractor status.”

Read the testimony of Alida Kass, president and chief legal counsel of the NJ Civil Liberties Institute, before the NJ Senate Labor Committee, that “S4204 would impose a plainly unworkable default rule on the New Jersey business community that would produce massive economic dislocation.”

Read the statements of the NJ State Bar Association about “the bill’s expansive view of employees that would significantly impact not just practitioners, but all fields that utilize per diem or contract employees.”

LOCAL LEADERS ARE STEPPING UP TO PROTECT THEIR CITIZENS

Bergen County: Read the resolution that the Borough of Woodcliff Lake passed, opposing “any further action being taken by the New Jersey Legislature on S4204 and A5936.”

Essex County: Read the resolution that the town of Maplewood passed, stating that it “opposes S4204 and A5936” and wants to ensure that “the livelihood of legitimate independent contractors is not jeopardized by unintended consequences.”

Essex County: Read the letter that South Orange Village President Sheena Collum sent to Senate President Steve Sweeney, urging him “to withdraw S-4204 for consideration until a time when language can be properly integrated to ensure that the livelihood of our state’s legitimate independent contractors is not jeopardized.”

Essex County: Read the letter that the North Essex Chamber of Commerce sent to Gov. Murphy, saying that if S4204/A5936 become law, “Businesses who serve companies as independent service providers, including marketing and business strategists, trainers, freelance writers, consultants, graphic designers, and others will be put out of business.”

Gloucester County: Read the letter that Pitman Mayor Russell C. Johnson III sent to Senate President Steve Sweeney, telling him that “it seems this bill will specifically harm the earning opportunities for our seniors and women in this state.”

Morris County: Read the letter that Washington Township Mayor Matt Murello sent to Senate President Steve Sweeney, requesting that S4204 be withdrawn because “this bill could have disastrous implications for many thousands of independent contractors.”

Warren County: Read the letter that Hackettstown Mayor Maria DiGiovanni sent to Senate President Steve Sweeney, saying “S4204 deserves a pause and not a rush to enact. New Jersey deserves better!”

KISS YOUR CAMPAIGN WORKERS GOODBYE

California’s version of S4204/A5936 will remake—and significantly raise—the budgets for political campaigns, per the political and election lawyers at The Sutton Law Firm in Los Angeles and San Francisco: “While consultants, attorneys and pollsters who have their own firms and who work for several political campaigns at the same time will probably be able to avoid the reach of AB 5, campaign staff, phone bank workers, canvassers, petition circulators and other lower-level workers on candidate or ballot measure campaigns will likely be reclassified as employees. Not only would these campaign workers be entitled to significantly greater rights and benefits from the campaigns, but the campaigns would incur significant new expenses (in the form of payroll, unemployment and disability taxes) and significant new administrative burdens (in the form of employee handbooks, training and quarterly employment flings).”

THOSE WHO SAY S4204/A5936 IS BAD FOR NEW JERSEY

New Jersey State Bar Association
New Jersey Business and Industry Association
New Jersey Chamber of Commerce
New Jersey Civil Justice Institute
New Jersey Press Association
New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners
Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey
Bi-State Motor Carriers
Independent Bakers Association
American Society of Journalists and Authors

SENATE PRESIDENT STEVE SWEENEY SMEARED NEW JERSEY CITIZENS AGAINST S4204 AS RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION OPERATIVES IN THE ASBURY PARK PRESS—ALL BECAUSE HE CAN’T ARGUE THE FACTS OF JUST HOW DESTRUCTIVE THIS LEGISLATION IS TO WORKING PEOPLE

Read our strongly pro-American rebuttal

THE NATION IS WATCHING YOU

From The Washington Post: “The independent contractor laws now being written in a handful of states are setting precedents for how the language is going to be written across the country. If we screw this up in New Jersey now, then millions of Americans stand to be screwed over later.”

VOTE NO ON S4204/A5936