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Legislative Memo

Frank Kerbein
Director, Center for Human Resources
T 518.465.7517 x210
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.6267 (Golden) / A.8997 (Wright)

Support

SUBJECT:

Transportation Industry Fair Play Act

 

DATE:

April 5, 2012

 

The New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act sets up an unrealistic presumption of employment in the commercial goods transportation industry, calls for independent contractor tests far beyond those currently used or needed, and provides no findings of misclassification abuse in the transportation industry to justify this bill. The Business Council opposes its enactment.

Independent contractors, also known as “owner-operators,” have been an essential part of the trucking industry for years. Over many decades, the independent contractor status of those individuals has been repeatedly recognized and affirmed in numerous legal proceedings under various independent contractor legal standards. This bill, if enacted, would set up a new, comprehensive and unnecessary set of independent contractor tests far beyond those currently used or needed. At best, it would discourage thousands of these small business owners from conducting business in New York State.

Independent contractors choose to run their independent businesses for reasons that include freedom & independence, control over their time and business decisions, and financial gain. This legislation would work counter to the owner-operator’s interests to control their own business decisions, schedules and financial plans by pressuring them to sacrifice their independence and work as employees if they wish to remain in the transportation industry in New York State.

There is no justification for this proposal. The Cornell study citing misclassification abuses targeted the construction industry; transportation was only mentioned in two footnotes in the report yet this bill uses the report as its basis.

As we work toward improvement of the state’s economy and the creation of jobs lost in the last several years, the Legislature needs to send loud and clear positive messages to businesses in and out of the state. Enactment of this bill sends no such message. In fact, it sends the all too familiar message that the New York State Legislature stands ready to find new and different ways to interfere with business and worsen the business climate in New York State.

For these reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation and respectfully urges that it not be enacted by the New York State Legislature.