Workplace

Gig worker companies want an independent contractor vote in Massachusetts

Massachusetts legislators and gig-worker advocates have been preparing for this battle since the passage of Prop. 22.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
Photo: Philip Pacheco/AFP via Getty Images

A gig company collective that represents Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, among others, is pushing for a new 2022 ballot measure in Massachusetts that would define gig workers as independent contractors, similar to California's Proposition 22.


The group, called the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work, plans to file a proposal for a ballot measure Wednesday that would guarantee paid sick time and health care for gig workers while also making it impossible to define them as full-time employees, instead permanently classifying them as independent contractors, according to a company press statement.

Massachusetts legislators and gig-worker advocates have been preparing for this battle since the passage of Prop. 22, which exempted Uber and other gig companies from a California law that uses an ABC test to define whether or not a worker is a full-time employee or an independent contractor. Prop. 22 passed by an overwhelming majority in the state after gig companies spent more than $200 million campaigning for it, and after many of them used their platforms to message drivers and riders about the campaign.

Massachusetts has a similar law to California's ABC test, and the state's attorney general has already filed a lawsuit against Uber and Lyft that claims the companies have failed that test and should be classifying workers in the state as full employees.

The Coalition to Protect Workers' Rights, which opposes the measure and any like it, had already begun campaign preparation and fundraising well before the announcement of the ballot measure Tuesday. "We know the way to beat these big tech companies with their endless money is to organize early and to make sure that we're driving an affirmative agenda on this and not allowing the companies to set the terms of the debate," Mike Firestone, director for the Coalition to Protect Workers' Rights, told Protocol in July.

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