TRENTON – Governor Richard Codey signed into law today legislation sponsored by Senators Shirley K. Turner and Joseph Coniglio that will ban the use of overseas labor in contracts entered into by the State or an authority under its control.
“Everyday, hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents are desperately seeking employment in order to support their families,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “It is foolish for the State to send taxpayer dollars abroad to hire workers in foreign countries when these same jobs can be preformed by the unemployed here in the United States. Not only are we loosing the benefits those jobs bring to the individual and their families, but we also lose all of the tax and economic growth benefits those jobs bring to the State.”
The new law, formerly bill S-494, will require that every State contract primarily for providing services must include provisions which specify that all services under the contract or any subcontract must be performed in the United States. The law will also require the Director of the Division of Purchase and Property and the Director of the Division of Property Management and Construction to include notification of this policy in every State contract for services.
“New Jersey should not do business with companies that move quality jobs abroad, plain and simple,” explained Senator Congilio, D-Bergen. “Saving a few dollars is not worth the costs to New Jersey families when they see their highly skilled job move half way around the globe for the benefit of corporate profits. For almost half a million families, the threat of seeing their livelihood moved to Asia or South America is very real and they need to know that the State is doing everything possible to keep their jobs on U.S. soil.”
The law also grants an exemption to the provisions of the bill if the service required cannot be provided by a contractor or subcontractor in the United States. Under the new law, the Treasurer will be required to review all State contracts primarily for the performance of services, which have not been terminated or completed, and determine if any of the services are being performed outside of the United States. The Treasurer would then report his findings to the Governor and the Legislature within 180 days of the bill’s effective date.
Off-shoring is the practice by American companies of moving jobs to other countries to take advantage of lower wages and fewer benefits. While this has been a common trend for manufacturing jobs over the last few decades, it has only recently spread to fields that have been traditionally considered “white-collar” such as administrative support, business and financial operations, and computers.
Senator Turner added, “Off-shoring is a serious concern for the future of New Jersey’s highly skilled workforce. The State itself needs to lead by example and make sure that every service contract we sign uses American labor.”