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LOHUD: The Journal News

Cuomo Vetos Newspaper Driver Bill

By Jon Campbell

Governor CuomoAmong the other bills vetoed by Cuomo was a measure that would have clearly identified newspaper carriers as independent contractors rather than employees.

For decades, many newspaper companies have contracted with independent carriers to deliver their product. The companies are not required to pay an hourly minimum wage, unemployment insurance or worker’s compensation for independent contractors as they would for employees.

“Under my administration, we have strived to decrease misclassifications, increase compliance, and ensure that workers secure a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, with all of the appropriate protections available under the law,” Cuomo wrote in his veto message. “This bill would not advance these goals.”

The bill’s primary booster was the New York State News Publishers Association, which counts Gannett Co. Inc.’s New York properties among its members. It was sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, and Sen. George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, Schenectady County.

Diane Kennedy, president of the association, said she was “shocked” by Cuomo’s veto. She said classifying carriers as employees could impact newspapers’ ability to deliver their product, particularly in rural areas.

“Newspapers have always, since their inception, been delivered by independent contractors,” Kennedy said. “These people – they use their own cars, they do the route however they want to, they mostly have other jobs. They pick up the newspapers and get them out as quickly as they want to to home subscribers. Nothing has changed.”

Teamsters Joint Council 16, a New York City-based labor union, called it an “anti-worker bill.”

“This veto protects New York’s best-in-the-nation safeguards for commercial drivers against being misclassified as independent contractors,” union president George Miranda said in a statement.