Lawmakers are reviving an effort to extend unemployment benefits to striking workers.
Assembly Bill 3861 passed out of the Assembly Labor Committee on Thursday by a 6-3 vote, while the Senate Labor approved its own version, Senate Bill 1046, by a 3-1 vote with one abstention Monday during the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Workers would be allowed access to unemployment compensation during a strike if the labor dispute was caused by the employer’s non-compliance with an agreement or existing labor laws, according to the legislation.
The workers would be subject to a 30 day waiting period unless the employer hires a permanent replacement worker. If not permitted to return to work, the former employer would have to provide back pay lost during the 30-day waiting period.
“After experiencing twice in the last few years what can go wrong during major strikes, this bill provides the framework needed to protect New Jersey’s workers from financial hardship during strikes, lockouts and other work stoppages,” said the sponsor of S1046, Sen. Joe Vitale, D-19th District.
Former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, vetoed a similar measure in 2016.