Senate President Steve Sweeney advocated for his path to progress at the Building Trades Convention in Atlantic City Tuesday.
“We are here with the hard working men and women of the trade unions united in our efforts to move New Jersey forward with s strong economy and a state that is affordable for all working families,” Sweeney. “The work of our brothers and sisters in the building and trades unions is a vital part of an economy that continues to thrive. But we need to bring fiscal responsibility to public finances so that we can make the investments that will expand opportunities for everyone. That can only be accomplished by making the needed reforms from the Path to Progress agenda. It will shape economic growth for our future.”
Gov. Phil Murphy and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin also spoke at the event.
Murphy’s speech largely centered around the findings of his task force on employee misclassification.
Misclassification involves incorrectly labeling employees as independent contractors. Doing so allows firms to skirt unemployment tax and disability contributions.
Murphy said the task force he convened to investigate the issue found 12,300 cases of misclassification cost workers more than $460 million in underreported wages and benefits and cost the state $14 million in unemployment and disability fees 2018.
The governor and senate president are in agreement on the issue. Last month, Sweeney pushed Murphy to release the task force’s findings.
Sweeney, an official with the ironworkers union, got some support from one of New Jersey’s top union officials Tuesday.
“The first priority of our building trades council in 2019 is to encourage a political climate that allows legislators of each party and people of various ideologies to work in support of initiatives to promote the common good of workers and the state,” Building Trades Council President Bill Mullen said. “Senator Sweeney has always been a true ally of working men and women and he always fights for our needs and priorities. ”Misclassification Report 2019