New Jersey State AFL-CIO Statement on Governor Murphy’s Veto of Pro-Worker “Responsible Contractor” Legislation for Pension Investments

Today, Governor Murphy vetoed S-2663 / A-4765 (Sweeney / Singleton / Mazzeo / Murphy), which sought to apply responsible contractor provisions to investments made by the New Jersey State Division of Investments. 

“We are very disappointed to see the Governor reject this important piece of legislation.  It would have been a “win-win” for responsible investors and contractors that play by the rules, as well as the workers they employ,” stated New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. 

 “We hope the Governor and his Administration will advocate for and work in a timely fashion with the State Investment Council and Division of Investments to implement a responsible contractor policy within the framework of the Environmental, Societal and Governance Committee (ESG) as he stated in his veto message,” concluded Wowkanech.

 Specific requirements in the bill included basic, core labor standards such as the promotion of responsible contractors, the exclusion of potential investment due to wage theft, the failure to pay prevailing wages and the exclusion of potential investors if they plan to privatize public sector jobs. 

The bill also contains language regarding real estate investments in which the state has under a 50% interest and which provisions are similar to those stated above.

The bill is consistent with the State Investment Councils fiduciary duties to provide for the retirement security of New Jersey’s public employees and would have helped safeguard New Jersey’s public pension plan investments by ensuring the use of law-abiding contractors for the construction and operation of real estate and infrastructure investments.

Many of the largest public employee pension plans in the country have adopted responsible contractor policies, including the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

Governor Murphy’s veto message can be read here:

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