A coalition of gig economic system companies that features Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart stated on Wednesday that it had filed a poll proposal in Massachusetts that would create a brand new class of workers within the commonwealth. If the coalition is profitable, Massachusetts voters will resolve subsequent yr whether or not gig workers needs to be thought of impartial contractors.
The employment classification of gig workers has been the topic of authorized battles in a number of states. Labor activists argue that companies like Uber don’t pay honest wages to their workers and shortchange them on bills, health care and unemployment advantages. The companies say their workers take pleasure in an excessive amount of flexibility to be thought of staff. Last yr, Massachusetts sued Uber and Lyft, claiming they misclassified drivers as impartial contractors. That litigation is ongoing.
The group of gig companies, referred to as the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work, proposes exempting gig workers from being categorised as staff however providing them some restricted advantages, together with minimal pay of $18 per hour spent transporting a rider or delivering food.
“This is the best of both worlds,” Pam Bennett, a DoorDash courier, stated in a press release offered by the coalition. “This measure will help every driver by preserving our ability to work whenever and however we want, and also give us access to brand-new benefits that will really help.”
The poll proposal mirrors an initiative that the companies proposed final yr in California. The companies poured $200 million into the California poll initiative, making it the costliest effort in state historical past, and in the end prevailed in exempting their workers from a California regulation that might have successfully categorised them as staff.
“They are going to try to get this ballot measure by deceiving the public into thinking that this is somehow for the benefit of the workers,” stated Shannon Liss-Riordan, a labor legal professional who represents gig workers in Massachusetts. “It’s going to take away their responsibilities under Massachusetts law and substitute these fake benefits.”
The effort in Massachusetts comes as Uber and different companies that depend on gig workers face elevated scrutiny from the Biden administration, which earlier this yr rolled again a Trump-era rule that might possible have categorised gig workers as impartial contractors.