The public hearing, held by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, focused on the proposed new rules / regulations for Public Works Contractor Registration, due to the passage A-3666 / S-3071 earlier this year.
The proposed rules and regulations
The proposed rules and regulations require participation in a US DOL-registered apprenticeship program for registration as a Public Works Contractor. As these proposed rules / regulations go far beyond the language of the law. and importantly, they require all apprenticeship programs to include participation in “ERISA-covered apprenticeship training program trust fund” we believe that this would put a tremendous burden on small businesses in our industry, particularly since most that engage in public work also perform work in the private sector.
This proposal, combined with other aspects of the proposed rules / regulations, would make it virtually impossible for small businesses in our industry and similar industries to comply. Therefore, thousands of small businesses and their employees throughout New Jersey would be disenfranchised when they are unable to comply with these proposed regulations, which would bar them from registering as a Public Works Contractor in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Electronic Security Association, along with other trade associations in the electronic security, fire/life safety, and locksmithing industries had urged members, along with all business owners and their employees, to attend the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s public hearing and oppose these newly-proposed rules / regulations, regardless of whether they perform public work in N.J. Everyone was also encouraged to send their written opposition to the Department during this “comment period.”
The proceedings began by David Fish, Executive Director of Legal and Regulatory Services for the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, who gave a summary of the rules and regulations. He then stated that the purpose of the public hearing was to allow attendees to be heard regarding the proposed rules / regulations directly to members of the Department. However, he added that the Department staff could not provide opinions, or answers to any questions, at the hearing.
Thirty people stood up and voiced their opposition, including NJESA President Christine Marzano, Immediate Past President Jerry Duffy, Treasurer Casey Guagenti, Board Members Joe Cioffi and Jamie Kerth, and Chris Mosley, who also serves as the President of the national Electronic Security Association (ESA).
The opposition comments were fairly unanimous in stating that the law itself and the new apprenticeship program participation requirements put an onerous burden on small businesses that perform public work in New Jersey. The proposed rules / regulations would make it virtually impossible for small businesses to continue to register for a Public Works Contractor Registration Certificate.
The overall effect of this new law, combined with these proposed rules / regulations, would be to exclude many thousands of small businesses and their employees throughout the state, by barring them from engaging in public work. This would lead to all public work costing the state and local municipalities even more, which consequently, will cost the taxpayers of New Jersey even more for all public work.
A number of speakers added that this new law and these proposed rules / regulations may force them out-of-business.
A State Employee Speaks
In addition, one state employee, who manages state facilities, shared that this new law and these proposed rules / regulations might cause him to lose all of his current vendors for the vital life safety and security systems in these buildings. He then rhetorically asked who he could call if there were an emergency and he needed someone immediately to service one of these systems, if all his vendors were effectively blocked from registering for a Public Works Contractor Registration Certificate. Ironically, the building where the public hearing was held is one of the buildings that he manages.
“I am proud of the efforts of our association and members,” said Christine Marzano. “We believe that these proposed rules and regulations will potentially cause higher unemployment, lower tax revenue and the closure of more small businesses. The ultimate losers in this scenario are New Jersey’s taxpayers and the state itself. We are urging the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to reconsider adoption of these proposed rules and regulations.”
The Letter Campaign Continues
We are urging all members to send their opposition letters to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, if you have not already done so.
These new rules / regulations, which flow from the A-3666 law that was passed earlier this year, will create a very tough and costly business environment for small (non-union) businesses that perform public work in New Jersey. The deadline to submit comments to the Department is August 2, 2019.
- We ask that you review our bullet points and that you do not deviate from these core arguments.
- Please submit your letter(s) by mail before August 2, 2019 and email a copy of your letter(s) to the NJESA at email@example.com
- Please let us know if anyone from your company will be attending the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development hearing. Also, please let us know whether you plan on speaking at the meeting.
Please address your letters to:
Mr. David Fish, Executive Director
Legal and Regulatory Services
NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development
P.O. Box 110 – 13th Floor
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0110