A coalition of gig economic system firms 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 staff within the commonwealth. If the coalition is profitable, Massachusetts voters will resolve subsequent yr whether or not gig staff ought to be thought-about impartial contractors.
The employment classification of gig staff has been the topic of authorized battles in a number of states. Labor activists argue that firms like Uber don’t pay honest wages to their staff and shortchange them on bills, well being care and unemployment advantages. The businesses say their staff get pleasure from an excessive amount of flexibility to be thought-about workers. Final yr, Massachusetts sued Uber and Lyft, claiming they misclassified drivers as impartial contractors. That litigation is ongoing.
The group of gig firms, known as the Massachusetts Coalition for Unbiased Work, proposes exempting gig staff from being categorised as workers however providing them some restricted advantages, together with minimal pay of $18 per hour spent transporting a rider or delivering meals.
“That is one of the best of each worlds,” Pam Bennett, a DoorDash courier, stated in a press release offered by the coalition. “This measure will assist each driver by preserving our capability to work every time and nevertheless we wish, and likewise give us entry to brand-new advantages that can actually assist.”
The poll proposal mirrors an initiative that the businesses proposed final yr in California. The businesses 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 staff from a California regulation that might have successfully categorised them as workers.
“They’re going to attempt to get this poll measure by deceiving the general public into pondering that that is someway for the advantage of the employees,” stated Shannon Liss-Riordan, a labor lawyer who represents gig staff in Massachusetts. “It’s going to remove their tasks underneath Massachusetts regulation and substitute these faux advantages.”
The trouble in Massachusetts comes as Uber and different firms that depend on gig staff face elevated scrutiny from the Biden administration, which earlier this yr rolled again a Trump-era rule that might seemingly have categorised gig staff as impartial contractors.