This past week was a busy one in the Senate Labor Committee as it released five bills supported by NJBIA as well as two bills we opposed. One other bill was amended to address our concerns and we stayed neutral. All these bills were released from the committee.
NJBIA strongly supported S-1957 (Greenstein, D-14; Oroho, R-24) dedicated $1.5 million annually from the Workforce Development Partnership Fund to the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc. (NJMEP). The NJMEP is a private, nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the profitability and competitiveness of manufacturers in this State. Senator Greenstein is chair of the New Jersey Manufacturers Caucus.
Two bills we supported lowered the cost of apprenticeship programs. S-1158 and 1159, both by Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-29), would waive fees for certain apprenticeship programs and provide corporation business tax and gross income tax credits for businesses that employ apprentices in DOL registered apprenticeships, respectively.
NJBIA also supported S-2488 (Singleton, D-7; Scutari, D-22), which would appropriate $50 million to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to improve its unemployment compensation system.
One of the bills we opposed would mandate Labor Harmony Agreements whenever public entities have a proprietary interest in certain retail and warehouse projects. NJBIA expressed concern that the bill was mandating a labor issue between private parties, was not giving public entities any discretion, and was too expansive in defining a proprietary interest.
NJBIA opposed the “Healthy Terminals Act,” S- 989 (Weinberg, D-37; Greenstein, D-14). This bill would mandate designated airport and train station workers to be paid certain wage rates and supplemental benefits. We believed that these additional benefits were not needed given existing wage rates and benefits for these workers. Further, the timing to increase costs on these industries is wrong given the severe economic harm currently being experienced by these sectors due to the pandemic.
Finally, S-1422 (Singleton, D-7; Madden, D-4) would establish procedures to enforce prevailing wage and contractor registration laws. The bill was amended to eliminate unnecessary expenditures and to lessen some of the burdens. As a result, NJBIA withdrew its opposition.