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17 staffing agencies fighting temp worker bill not registered to operate, state says


17 staffing agencies fighting temp worker bill not registered to operate, state says

Feb 02, 2023 | 7:22 am ET
By Sophie Nieto-Munoz
17 staffing agencies fighting temp worker bill not registered to operate, state says
Staffing agencies are fighting a bill that would offer job protections to temporary workers. (Dana DiFilippo | New Jersey Monitor)

More than a dozen temporary staffing agencies that are members of a lobbying group fighting legislation that would lead to more state regulation of the industry are not registered to operate in New Jersey, according to the Department of Consumer Affairs.

The department confirmed at least 17 staffing agencies that the New Jersey Staffing Alliance lists as members do not currently hold active registrations with the state. Firms that operate without a license are subject to a $10,000 fine or suspension of their registration, the department said in a statement to the New Jersey Monitor. 

In recent months, the New Jersey Staffing Alliance has lobbied against a bill that would offer more job protections to temporary workers, a measure they claim would burden the staffing agencies with onerous regulations and put some of them out of business. The bill (A1474) would ban staffing agencies from making unitemized paycheck deductions and require them to pay workers the same as their full-time counterparts, among other things.

In a statement, Denise Downing, executive director of the staffing alliance, said it doesn’t monitor the status of the more than 200 agencies that are among its members. She condemned agencies flouting the rules as “bad actors.”

“We believe compliance would be something that is monitored by the state of New Jersey. We have a strong code of ethics that we adhere to and promote so that our members foster good practices in the workplace,” she said. 

Several of the agencies did not have phone numbers listed on their website, while others did not respond to requests for comment.

Temporary agencies not registered with the state include:

  • Alliance Sourcing Network in Wayne
  • ATRIA Consulting in Hamilton
  • Coda Staffing in Saddlebrook
  • Expert Hiring in Bridgewater
  • Haley Stuart Group in Montvale
  • Horizon America in Vineland
  • Hudson IT Consultancy in Hoboken
  • HW Staffing in Kenilworth
  • MVP Staffing in Burlington
  • NICSAM Personnel Clifton
  • Northeast Talent Solutions in Clifton
  • Professional Search Network in Parsippany
  • Renner Brown in Edison
  • Specialty Staffing in Mahwah
  • Staff Right Solutions in Paterson
  • Stonehenge Resources in Bedminster
  • Uniforce Staffing Solutions in Paramus

Staffing agencies are required to register with the Department of Consumer Affairs, which lists registered employment service businesses on its website, a list last updated in November 2022. A department spokesperson did not say whether these agencies would be investigated or fined, but said the department takes “appropriate enforcement action where warranted, including against those that operate without a registration.” 

Sen. Joe Cryan (D-Union), a sponsor of the bill, called this “a case of abusing the state.” Cryan said he wonders what other rules temp agencies are not following if they didn’t bother with the requirement to register with the state. 

“You would think that folks get their act in order before they start funding opposition, quite frankly untruthful opposition, but combined with their other antics that have gone on, it kind of makes sense,” he said in a phone interview. “They don’t care about the workers, the rules, or anything but money for themselves.” 

Cryan noted a recent Rutgers University report that said temp workers rely on public health care at rates comparable to billion-dollar companies like Amazon and Walmart.

The temporary workers bill is scheduled to be voted on in the Senate Thursday, though it’s been pulled from the floor at the last minute several times after failing to garner the 21 votes needed to pass. The bill is a revised version of one Gov. Phil Murphy conditionally vetoed in September. The revised version has already won approval from the Assembly.

Cryan said he is “hopeful” the bill will pass Thursday. He said Democrats have struggled to pass it partly because of attendance issues. 

Supporters of the bill say there are about 130,000 temporary workers statewide.

State labor advocates and immigration groups have pushed for these regulations for years, saying abuse runs rampant in temporary staffing agencies. Many times, they say, workers are “perma-temp,” hired and rehired by employers but not given the same pay or benefits as staff.

Sara Cullinane, executive director of Make the Road New Jersey, which has lobbied to advance the bill, said it’s “deeply troubling” that staffing agencies are not registered with the state, making it harder for state regulators to oversee them.

She called on the Legislature and state to “step up to further regulate temp agencies to root out exploitative practices that harm essential workers.”

The New Jersey Staffing Alliance said it opposes the current version of the bill because it amounts to “crushing financial and operational constraints on staffing firms and their clients that will result in the elimination of temporary jobs for thousands of New Jersey workers including those who can afford it the least.” 

The bill, known among activists as a “temp worker bill of rights,” would require temporary workers to receive benefits and pay equivalent to traditional workers, improve record-keeping to attempt to reduce labor violations, and bar agencies from deducting transportation fees from paychecks.

Employment agencies would also be required to provide advance notice of conditions of the employment, like pay rate, length of the assignment, sick leave, and other health and safety information.