A coalition of gig economic system corporations that features Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart mentioned on Wednesday that it had filed a poll proposal in Massachusetts that might create a brand new class of employees within the commonwealth. If the coalition is profitable, Massachusetts voters will determine subsequent yr whether or not gig employees must be thought-about unbiased contractors.
The employment classification of gig employees has been the topic of authorized battles in a number of states. Labor activists argue that corporations like Uber don’t pay honest wages to their employees and shortchange them on bills, well being care and unemployment advantages. The businesses say their employees get pleasure from an excessive amount of flexibility to be thought-about staff. Final yr, Massachusetts sued Uber and Lyft, claiming they misclassified drivers as unbiased contractors. That litigation is ongoing.
The group of gig corporations, referred to as the Massachusetts Coalition for Impartial Work, proposes exempting gig employees 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 meals.
“That is the most effective of each worlds,” Pam Bennett, a DoorDash courier, mentioned in a press release offered by the coalition. “This measure will assist each driver by preserving our capability to work at any time when and nonetheless we would like, 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 employees from a California regulation that may have successfully categorised them as staff.
“They will attempt to get this poll measure by deceiving the general public into considering that that is by some means for the good thing about the employees,” mentioned Shannon Liss-Riordan, a labor legal professional who represents gig employees in Massachusetts. “It’s going to remove their obligations underneath Massachusetts regulation and substitute these pretend advantages.”
The trouble in Massachusetts comes as Uber and different corporations that depend on gig employees face elevated scrutiny from the Biden administration, which earlier this yr rolled again a Trump-era rule that may seemingly have categorised gig employees as unbiased contractors.