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Monday, September 26, 2022

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Will Be the Next Front in the Struggle Over Gig Worker Labor Laws

A minimum wage would be guaranteed to workers under the Massachusetts plan, but they would have less access to other benefits granted to regular employees. This question is comparable to the one on the ballot in California. Additionally, similar to the situation in California, state courts have the ability to prevent the multimillion-dollar campaign that is being launched by gig businesses.ependent status of drivers for the companies.

The disagreement arises at a time when state officials from Massachusetts and other states are ramping up the pressure on ride-hailing and food-delivery businesses while simultaneously pushing for a more comprehensive examination of whether or not individuals who work in the gig economy are exploited.

A representative for DoorDash issued a statement in which she claimed that the letters included “misleading and false statements,” and that the business was dedicated to ensuring the well-being of its drivers. Requests for comments from other gig firms were not immediately met with a response from those companies.

Gig economy corporations spent a total of $200 million in the state of California seeking to get its drivers recognised as independent contractors. The disagreement began in 2019, when the state of California implemented a regulation that requires businesses like Uber and Lyft to consider its drivers as employees rather than independent contractors. Later on, the attorney general of the state filed a lawsuit against the gig firms in order to enforce it, and the gig companies’ response was to threaten to leave the state.

Ms. Pressley stated that the ballot initiative in Massachusetts was a method for gig firms to save money by avoiding offering their drivers additional money and perks like health care. In other words, the proposition was a way for gig companies to save money. She said that everything eventually boils down to putting a focus on profits rather than people.

Proponents of the ballot question argue that it would instead guarantee that employees got a reasonable minimum pay and certain benefits while protecting drivers’ right to select when they worked while also preserving drivers’ flexibility in scheduling their shifts. Under the terms of the plan, delivery drivers would be guaranteed an hourly wage of at least $18 whether they were transporting people or delivering food.

In addition to that, it would provide employees who put in a specific amount of hours behind the wheel with certain restricted perks, such as a charge per mile to cover the expenses of the vehicle, accident insurance, paid sick days, and health care stipends. There would be no need for gig firms to compensate their employees with unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, paid time off, or any other kind of health care payments.

The supporters of the ballot initiative stand to gain some ground if the court decides to allow it to be presented before the electorate. According to the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart collected a combined total of $17.8 million in support of the ballot issue in 2018. The office has not yet revealed fundraising totals for 2022. The majority of it was a gift from Lyft in the amount of $13 million that was made in December. This looks to be the single greatest political contribution in the history of Massachusetts.

The previous year, less than one million dollars was raised for the Massachusetts Is Not for Sale campaign. The organisation stated that it had learned from the fight in California that voters could be confused by the minutiae of a complicated ballot measure about independent contractors. As a result, a significant portion of the campaign will focus on arguing that large technology companies are attempting to rewrite state laws.

Gig firms often boast that they have drivers working for them as well. According to the results of a study conducted this year among around 400 Massachusetts drivers on behalf of gig firms and cited by the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work, 81 percent of respondents supported the ballot initiative.

The drivers who participated in the poll were informed that a positive vote would result in drivers being classified as independent contractors rather than employees and would bring additional perks, while a negative vote would keep things as they are now.

Opponents argue that drivers are being mislead, and that if they were considered employees rather than independent contractors, they would be able to have flexible schedules, in addition to receiving greater compensation and benefits.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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