Singleton Bill to Increase Worker Representation Advances

Trenton – In an effort to expand worker representation and further enforce employment contracts, the Senate Labor Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton to permit unions to file wage claim suits on behalf of workers, regardless of their union affiliation.

“Receiving unpaid wages could literally mean the difference in whether a family has food on the table or is able to pay their rent. This legislation aims to create more avenues for the average worker to receive adequate representation during this hardship,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Many unions possess resources that would allow them to file and pursue wage claim suits more efficiently and in higher volume than the State could. This measure would allow more workers to take advantage of these resources.”

The bill, S-1438, would allow labor unions to file wage claim suits on behalf of their own workers and workers unaffiliated with a union against an employer for unpaid wages. The provisions of the bill would be applicable to any contract entered into for construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration, maintenance, or repair within the State.

Under current law, only the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, and a joint labor-management cooperation committee may file suit on behalf of a worker owed unpaid wages.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0.