New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro visited the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21 training facility in Philadelphia to tour the innovative center and announce their intention to form an interstate task force to address wage theft and worker misclassification in the two states. The interstate task force will work to better foster the collaborative enforcement of each state’s labor laws, which include robust worker protections, while enabling healthy business competition between good actors.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania entered a regional Memorandum of Understanding agreement in 2019 to facilitate data sharing, joint investigations, and cooperative referrals. Today’s commitment to a continued partnership between the two states bolsters those efforts and demonstrates Governor Shapiro’s and Governor Murphy’s ongoing focus on worker protections.
“I am thrilled to join Governor Shapiro to reaffirm our commitment to strengthen labor law enforcement and to announce this new partnership between our states,” said Governor Murphy. “Every day hard-working New Jerseyans and Pennsylvanians deserve to live without fear that their employers are taking advantage of their rights. With the formation of an interstate task force, our message will be clear – workers’ rights are to be respected, defended, and upheld.”
“We need to give students like those here at FTI the opportunity to chart their own course in life. That’s why my budget includes comprehensive investments in career and technical education and apprenticeships,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “But our work can’t stop at increasing opportunity – we also need to protect workers’ rights once they’re on the job. I’m proud to join Governor Murphy to announce that Pennsylvania and New Jersey will strengthen our partnership to stop wage theft and worker misclassification. Pennsylvanians and New Jerseyans work hard, and we will not let them be cheated out of the benefits they’ve earned.”
The Governors directed Rob Asaro-Angelo, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and Nancy Walker, Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I), to ensure a continued partnership between the states, highlight specific opportunities the departments should pursue, and request the identification of key individuals within each agency to serve on the interstate Task Force.
In response to growing misclassification problems in New Jersey, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 25 on May 3, 2018, establishing an interagency Misclassification Task Force to “promote fairness, fight against discrimination, and work to end unfair labor practices… that create an unfair advantage over companies that play by the rules and hurt our working families.” New Jersey has since been considered the “gold standard” for addressing worker misclassification. Similarly, the Pennsylvania Joint Task Force on Misclassification of Employees, created by Act 85 of 2020, made 15 recommendations to improve data sharing, strengthen compliance laws, and increase interagency collaboration.