Pa., N.J. join forces to ‘collaboratively enforce’ state labor laws | Five for the Weekend

While the partnership is between New Jersey and Pennsylvania right now, the governors said that they hope surrounding states will join in their efforts to ‘strengthen enforcement actions against labor violations’

By: - April 15, 2023 6:30 am

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. April 13, 2023 – PHILADELPHIA, PA (Commonwealth Media Services photo).

Happy weekend, all.

Pennsylvania and its neighbor to the east – New Jersey – are forming an alliance to strengthen labor law enforcement and protect workers’ rights in the states.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy met in Philadelphia this week to tour the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21 training facility and to announce a “interstate task force” to collaboratively enforce each state’s labor laws.

“Our work can’t stop at increasing opportunity – we also need to protect workers’ rights once they’re on the job,” Shapiro said. “I’m proud to join Gov. 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.”

In a letter to the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Labor secretaries, Shapiro and Murphy argued that it was in each states’ best interest to work collaboratively to “hold bad actors accountable across state lines.”

While the partnership is between New Jersey and Pennsylvania right now, the governors said that they hope surrounding states will join in their efforts to “strengthen enforcement actions against labor violations.”

“I am thrilled to join Gov. Shapiro today to reaffirm our commitment to strengthen labor law enforcement and to announce this new partnership between our states,” Murphy said. “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.”

Acting Labor and Industry Secretary Nancy Walker responded to the announcement in a statement: “I look forward to continued collaboration with our partners in New Jersey to hold accountable those employers who think they can get away with cheating the system.”

As always, the top five stories from this week are below.

The Rev. Sandra Strauss, a longtime Harrisburg advocate, speaks during a news conference at the state Capitol on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek).

1. As debt ceiling showdown looms, advocates call on Pa.’s Perry, Republicans to ‘Back off our benefits’

A nationwide bus tour aimed at pressuring Republicans to back off holding such key safety net programs as Social Security and Medicare hostage during negotiations to raise the federal debt ceiling rolled into Harrisburg on Tuesday with one very prominent target.

Namely, U.S. House Freedom Caucus Chairperson Scott Perry, who represents south-central Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District, which Democrats are aiming to recapture in 2024.

Pennsylvania Second Lady Blayre Holmes Davis joined lawmakers and advocates in Harrisburg on Thursday, April 13 to recognize Black Maternal Health Week (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).

2. ‘Black women deserve better’ Pa. Second Lady Blayre Holmes Davis says of maternal healthcare

Pennsylvania Second Lady Blayre Holmes Davis joined lawmakers and advocates in Harrisburg on Thursday, April 13 to recognize Black Maternal Health Week.

Black Maternal Health Week, which runs April 11-17, is a national advocacy week aimed at bringing awareness to the healthcare disparities and implicit biases Black birthing people experience. It also aims to address the national maternal mortality crisis, which disproportionately impacts birthing people of color.

State Sen. Carolyn T. Comitta, D-Chester, attends a Senate Education Committee Hearing held at the Pennsylvania Capitol on May 24, 2022 in Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg, for the Capital-Star).
State Sen. Carolyn T. Comitta, D-Chester, attends a Senate Education Committee Hearing held at the Pennsylvania Capitol on May 24, 2022 in Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg for the Capital-Star).

3. State lawmakers propose legislative reforms for Pa. dog law

Two state lawmakers are proposing a package of legislative reforms that they say will better protect animals across the commonwealth by increasing oversight of kennels, breeders, and testing facilities.

The reforms, which are part of a three-pronged, companion proposal by state Sen. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, and Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, mirror a similar legislative package enacted in Virginia last year.

Rep. Justin Jones, left, and Justin Pearson, right, were expelled from the Tennessee House. (Photo: John Partipilo/Tennessee Lookout).
Rep. Justin Jones, left, and Justin Pearson, right, were expelled from the Tennessee House. (Photo: John Partipilo/Tennessee Lookout).

4. With expulsion of Tennessee Black lawmakers, Republicans lost GenZ. Here’s how | Heather MacDonald

Following a school shooting in Nashville last month, hundreds of protesters gathered in the Tennessee capital demanding lawmakers act to address the out of control gun violence that once again unnecessarily took innocent lives.

In response, the Tennessee’s Republican-controlled state House took the historic and extraordinary action of expelling two Black Democratic lawmakers for joining their constituents in demanding justice. This egregious overreaction not only gave us permission to drop the “theory” from critical race theory, it also gave us a masterclass in the dying efficacy of respectability politics.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, of Texas, sided with the conservative Christian legal advocacy group, Alliance Defending Freedom, and issued an injunction on the Federal Drug Administration's 2000 approval of mifepristone(Phil Walter/Getty Images).
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, of Texas, sided with the conservative Christian legal advocacy group, Alliance Defending Freedom, and issued an injunction on the Federal Drug Administration’s 2000 approval of mifepristone(Phil Walter/Getty Images).

5. Abortion pill ruling puts politics ahead of medical evidence | Opinion

American healthcare just took a backseat to American politics.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, of Texas, sided with the conservative Christian legal advocacy group, Alliance Defending Freedom, and issued an injunction on the Federal Drug Administration’s 2000 approval of mifepristone on the grounds that the FDA did not adequately evaluate its safety before approval. If this injunction is allowed to go into effect, mifepristone will no longer be available throughout the United States.

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.

MORE FROM AUTHOR