January 13, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed the New York State Commercial Goods Industry Fair Play Act (A5237B/S5867). This gives the Empire State the strongest worker misclassification legislation in the country. Teamsters Joint Council 16 had taken the lead in lobbying for this landmark legislation along with industry leaders.
More than 120,000 New Yorkers are employed by the commercial trucking industry, and many have suffered loss of wages and financial difficulties due to misclassification. The Fair Play Act redefines the definition of an employee in the commercial trucking industry, protecting commercial goods transportation employees from being misclassified.
"Every year, states across the U.S. lose billions of dollars because of loss of revenue from income tax, unemployment insurance taxes and workers' compensation premiums due to worker misclassification," said George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16. "Workers and contractors in the industry suffer because of lost wages and responsible businesses face unfair competition."
Joint Council 16 worked with the New York State Motor Truck Association to ensure that the Fair Play Act provides coverage for both employees of the commercial trucking industry and legitimate independent contractors. Their efforts received strong and unprecedented support from both houses of the New York State Legislature.
Under the new regulations, 28,000 truck drivers who are misclassified each year will be properly classified. This legislation comprehensively covers trucking companies in NYS including larger companies such as Fed Ex Ground and UPS. The bill also includes historic levels of civil and criminal penalties against employers in the industry who purposely misclassify drivers.
"This legislation goes a long way in protecting the drivers, the industry and our economy," Miranda said. "That's how we will build a stronger middle class here in New York. We applaud the Governor's courageous decision and thank him, Assemblymember Keith Wright and Senator Diane Savino for making the commercial trucking industry a fair workplace."