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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie introduces U.S. President Barack Obama (not pictured) to speak on the rebuilding of the Jersey Shore following Hurricane Sandy, from Asbury Park in New Jersey, May 28, 2013. President Barack Obama and Christie teamed up
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
A federal judge recently gave exotic dancers protection from misclassification as independent contractors rather than employees, but in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have protected truck drivers from misclassification. By classifying truckers as independent contractors, trucking companies can often put the burden of maintaining a truck on the driver even though it's used solely for the company's business, in addition to avoiding payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, and other costs of employing people:
“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 [the bill's sponsor, Assembly Deputy Speaker John S.] Wisniewski. “In doing so, they will also continue to deprive their drivers of Social Security, Medicare, Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment benefits.”
Christie didn't stop targeting workers there, though. He also sent a bill requiring that businesses receiving tax credits pay prevailing wage for maintenance workers back to the legislature for "minor changes." Those minor changes, of course, would let businesses take state tax credits without paying the prevailing wage. That's a pretty direct attack on construction unions, which is not usually much of a surprise coming from Christie. Except that in this case it's noteworthy since several construction unions actually endorsed Christie in his bid for re-election. And it happened the same week as the AFL-CIO convention was voting through a resolution sponsored by the Building and Construction Trades Department calling for a "'pragmatic, bipartisan approach' to electoral efforts 'that focuses primarily on candidates’ positions on issues of direct importance to workers.'" One hopes the endorsements Christie received are not being seen as a model for the future.

A fair day's wage

  • A scab garbage truck driver jumped a curb and hit a striking garbage worker in Maryland; luckily the injuries weren't life-threatening.
  • Detroit-area fast food restaurant Moo Cluck Moo pays a living wage of $15 an hour. So ... Netroots Nation 2014 field trip? Also, if you're in the Boston area, burrito chain Boloco pays a relatively decent wage of around $10 and has a Nutella-flavored frozen yogurt shake that I would drink right now if I could.
  • More tipping frustrations for waiters, this time courtesy of the IRS.
  • Is paid sick leave killing Seattle?
    Celebrating the one-year anniversary(ish) of Seattle's Paid Sick Leave ordinance, today members of the The Main Street Alliance of Washington, a coalition representing more than 2,500 small businesses across Washington state, released a report that basically confirms that despite the business-killing socialist Hellscape promised by paid sick leave opponents, business is still booming in King County.
  • A state judge ruled Indiana's recently adopted anti-union freeloader law violates the state's constitution. The state attorney general will appeal.
  • A big organizing drive in the works:
    IAM is embarking a long-term effort to unionize some 5,600 workers at 23 North American plants run by Jeld-Wen, an international company with additional factories in Europe and Asia. The union's interest was raised after being approached by pro-union workers anxious to establish higher wages and safer working conditions, particularly at plants in Chiloquin and Klamath Falls, Ore., says Bill Street of IAM.
  • Oh, look at that. That's the share of college-educated workers in fast food growing. And not because the jobs are getting better.


Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hellraisers Journal and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  the fat man (6+ / 0-)

    sings and everyman suffers.

  •  The "fat man" screws everyone. (9+ / 0-)


    Hat Tip to my Worker grandfather who turned over trucks in New Jersey for worker's rights.

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:08:02 AM PDT

  •  Make no mistake, Christie is a full blooded (12+ / 0-)


    Sent via African Swallow carrying a coconut

    by ipaman on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:09:14 AM PDT

  •  Christie screws New Jersey truck drivers.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Eric Nelson

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:16:27 AM PDT

  •  Christie is very popular with NJ dem voters. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Since when have dems actually gone to bat for laborers?  C'mon, give me a for instance--and no blather, blather, blather, we couldn't get it done.  That's just dog and pony show for the rubes.

    There is no effective representation for labor in this country, including the unions.  Maybe especially the unions.

    “The road to success is always under construction” --Lily Tomlin

    by CarolinNJ on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:21:37 AM PDT

    •  Repeat after me: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Christie is NO moderate.

      " The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"-Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Lh1695 on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 07:25:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course not. I didn't say he is. I said he's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        very popular with dem voters.  Irrefutable.  The brash bully plays well with a lot of people, as if he's their champion, THEIR brash bully, beating up the people they don't like.

        We're not an intellectual species, we're an emotional species.  Aggression and dominance are very much part of our repertoire.  Many people admire those qualities, especially when they're forthrightly expressed--by women as well as men.

        “The road to success is always under construction” --Lily Tomlin

        by CarolinNJ on Sun Sep 15, 2013 at 04:29:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Repeat after me. Read carefully. (0+ / 0-)

        “The road to success is always under construction” --Lily Tomlin

        by CarolinNJ on Sun Sep 15, 2013 at 04:30:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I still don't get why Christie is so (5+ / 0-)


    He doesn't even try to hide the fact he siphons money from the commonwealth to benefits the money men.

  •  Is there someway Christie can be declared (5+ / 0-)

    an independent contractor, and be liable for expenses of the governor's residence (and perhaps of the entire state)?

    Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

    by triplepoint on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:32:38 AM PDT

  •  This creep had better not be elected POTUS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Dirtandiron

    We'd get screwed even more than we already have.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:33:40 AM PDT

  •  Why would a truck owner-operator... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...want to be classified as an employee? Whoever owns the truck -  a major investment - gets the tax advantages. I don't get the issue. The union of course has an interest since if the owner-operators are classified as employees then they're added to union membership. But the actual truckers who own their own vehicles should be able to be independent contractors and that should be a financial benefit to them. Generally an independent contractor gets higher compensation that covers time AND materials which more than covers the missing employer contributions of SS/Med/UE.  

    Christie should be ashamed to interfere with the prevailing wage legislation. This trucker classification bill? I don't see the problem.

    •  Exactly. (0+ / 0-)

      Part of the owner-operator arrangement is shifting the risk away from the company on to the driver, in terms of maintenance and paying for breakdowns.  Because of that, drivers are compensated more in salary.  Plus, this way companies can get rid of drivers more easily, since they just have to discontinue their agreement with the driver.

      Of course, that can be abused, but it also makes it easier for companies to get rid of unsafe drivers.

      "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

      by mconvente on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 12:43:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And owner-operators can work multiple companies. (0+ / 0-)
        •  Not if owner-operator has customer's name on truck (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kck, Dirtandiron, Mgleaf

          The owner-operator has few of the benefits of running an independent business, and all the risks.  

          FedEx home delivery is just such an offender.  

          •  In my IT experience the IRS makes the decision... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

   to contractor v. employee, wit or without litigation, and can demand taxes years later by whatever party they consider in arrears.

            The FedEx case is interesting. Thanks. The case explanations do specify the drivers are owner-operators.  That sounds to me as if the drivers, being told how to do their jobs, in detail no less, are treated like employees. They claim they can show that the truckers' services were stopped when they failed to comply so there's no way the IRS would not treat them like employees.  

            It'll be interesting how that works out.

            If the truckers are owner-operators and want to operate with all of the advantages such an investment allows they should have more clients than just FedEx.  Otherwise it's just a ruse.  

          •  And some of those companies are strict about (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            what truck you buy, down to the color of the truck and everything. So you're not as free as you think.

            Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

            by Dirtandiron on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 05:24:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Good luck rebuilding (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Rose, Stude Dude, Dirtandiron


    Christie screws New Jersey truck drivers and construction workers"
    Yeah, that's the Republican Brand®.

    Think of it by it's parent company: Greed Inc.™.

    I would tell you the only word in the English language that has all the vowels in order but, that would be facetious.

    by roninkai on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:53:05 AM PDT

  •  I am amazed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, Dirtandiron, Mgleaf

    at how many Democrats keep getting taken in by this politician. He is the best example of the proverb "a broken clock shows correct time twice"!

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. Voltaire

    by Suvro on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:53:52 AM PDT

  •  How can labor unions even think of supporting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texasteamster, Stude Dude

    this wolf in sheep's clothing, Chris Christie. He's anti-worker. He's anti-women's rights. He disrespects African-Americans.  And he corruptly misuses taxpayer dollars for his own personal political benefit, wasting millions of dollars on a needless special election to try to diminish the influence of African-Americans in November's general election. What a cold-hearted, self-consumed, ego-maniacial scoundrel.

    •  I don't think they really like or respect him, (0+ / 0-)

      it's more like they fear him. Christie seems almost certain to win, and they have bad memories of backing the losing side in the past. (See Whitman, Christine Todd) It's real world politics. They don't want to be Christie's whipping boys leading up to the 2016 Repub primaries.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 05:36:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  so, they should just cower to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        one of their worst enemies? What about Scott Walker? They have at least as much to fear from him. Should they support him, too, out of fear? And Rick Scott? And John Kasich?

        If labor unions cower to people they fear, what good are they?

        Any labor union that supports Chris Christie will never receive this citizen's support. It's insane.

  •  Sounds like ind. = owner-operator (0+ / 0-)

    Which is a unique classification for truckers.  They own their own truck, so thus they have to pay for the maintenance, fuel, etc. of that vehicle.  This is a pretty common occurrence in trucking.

    "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

    by mconvente on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 12:39:09 PM PDT

    •  Are you aware FedEx drivers are "indies"? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It sure looks like a FedEx truck, and you sure can't use it to haul Coca-Cola, and you have to wear the uniform they give you, and drive the route they tell you in the order they tell you. But you're classified as "independent contractor," so, for example, you're not eligible for workers' comp or unemployment.

      That's the problem. It's not the real owner-operators who can work for multiple companies, set their own schedules, turn down assignments, etc. etc. It's the people who look, act, and are required to behave like employees -- terms and conditions completely fixed by the employer -- and yet are classified as "independents" to juice corporate profits.

  •  Was this really a bad decision? (0+ / 0-)

    I hate Christie too, but I think he made the right decision in this case. If Christie had signed the bill, wouldn't all the shipping companies just have left New Jersey and moved to a state that lets them screw their drivers? It would have lost New Jersey lots of revenue, and in the long run it wouldn't have helped anybody.

    It seems to me that trucking company employees  (unlike exotic dancers) can only be protected on the federal level, and that the commerce clause of the Constitution should allow this be taken care of on the federal level.

    •  I think the issue is that some of those companies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      hire these truck drivers, require them to buy and maintain a truck, but the truck "owners" are not free to haul for other companies. And every last detail of the driver's work is controlled by the company, down to the uniform they must wear and the route they deliver on and so forth. So how are they "independent"?

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 05:28:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's the kind of reasoning we hear all the time (0+ / 0-)

      from the Republicans.  Don't dare to fight for your rights or try to make things better, because all the jobs will leave.  They scare people into submission.

      •  Well ... (0+ / 0-)

        sometimes it's true.

        One of our previous New Jersey governors, Florio (a democrat) put a sales tax on heavy trucks. The number of heavy trucks sold in New Jersey instantly dropped to one tenth of what it had been, sending dealers out of business. Despite the fact that this had been predicted, and that it was obvious what was happening, Florio said "we'll have to wait and see whether it's the tax or just changing market conditions", screwing all the New Jersey truck dealerships.

        •  It's not the same situation. In the case of the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          sales tax, consumers can go across a state border to buy a truck, and then come right back home. The other involves a company pulling up stakes and going somewhere else.  It's a much bigger deal.  There also might be other factors that make them want to stay where they are.

  •  Does state law govern? (0+ / 0-)

    In terms of Social Security/Medicare taxes, IRS tax treatment, etc. I don't see how a NJ law can change how the federal government classifies workers. All Christie can do is control whether the state goes after employers for misclassification (e.g. for workers' comp and unemployment purposes).

    And the reality is that very few workers want to complain, because they don't want to lose the job they have even if the terms and conditions are lousy.

  •  What I am tired of (0+ / 0-)

    I am tired of progressives not saying jack, or even praising these idiots when they bash teachers and their voice, the teacher's unions. Scott Walker and Christie demolished the teacher's unions way before any of this. It is sad that, for some, union workers are only seen as manly men do manly jobs. Teachers and nurses aren't "real" union labor, trading their skills for a wage. Wonder why that is?

  •  I'm not at all sure that's true. I've seen plenty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on Daily Kos against the Republicans going after the teacher's unions.

    •  Even at DKos.... (0+ / 0-)

      When the Chicago Teacher's Union were on the verge of conducting the biggest strike in decades it was three days before something was posted here. It is perfect, perfect long range strategy of the Republicans.

      Let's divide the public sector unions from the private sector unions. Let's demolish the public sector unions, and pretend we care about private sector unions. Big surprise, a few years later, with what little was left of public sector unions neutralized, they are now going after private sector unions.

      It is so text book it is laughable, and we fall for it.

      •  no, not right.... (0+ / 0-)

        It's true that there is some antipathy to the teachers unions in DKos comments (and also against the BART unions), but I think we are seeing a lot less of it now than we used to.

        Laura is doing a good job publishing valuable info that changes minds, and there is a substantial group of commenters defending our teacher unions.

        So, don't crap on DKos for being soft in support of the Chicago Teachers. That's just not correct.

  •  It's hard to believe.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that even a small number of union leaders fell for the Christie fake. Even those who felt they must resign themselves to his reelection must have realized he would turn on them in due course.  

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