How connected is state’s Labor Dept. to unions? Commissioner Asaro-Angelo breaks it down

Robert Asaro-Angelo. (File photo)

Gov. Phil Murphy has been adamant about his support for union labors during the campaign and during his administration.

So, how much of that carries down to how Robert Asaro-Angelo does his job as the commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development?

ROI-NJ’s Alex Wolmart asked him that during a story he did for our annual Interview Issue. Here is Asaro-Angelo’s answer:

“We are agnostic about union or nonunion in our enforcement efforts,” he said. “Clearly, I’m a strong union supporter, but nothing that we do has anything to do with unions. It has to do with things like workers’ wages and misclassification of them being an independent contractor or not.

“On construction sites, we enforce prevailing wage, and a lot of folks think prevailing wage means union, but it really doesn’t. There’s plenty of nonunion companies who properly pay the prevailing wage.”

Asaro-Angelo said the confusion is common.

“This happens a lot of times, people thinking our department has a lot to do with unions when, quite frankly, we don’t,” he said. “That’s the National Labor Relations Board. As far as union organizing, we certainly have roles in some workplace issues that unions bring to us, but we don’t have any role in regulating unions and we don’t have any role in saying whether or not someone is in a union.

“Do I personally think more people should be in a union to give themselves voice in the workplace? Absolutely. As commissioner, does it have any bearing on what I’m doing? Absolutely not.”

To read the complete interview, click here.

The Interview Issue