After spending $220 million to get Prop 22 passed in California last year, Uber and Lyft are at it again, reports Reuters. The companies are part of a group lobbying to get a bill on next year’s ballot in Massachusetts to define drivers as independent contractors.
The group is called the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work and includes Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and Instacart. Of course, all are app-based companies that rely on gig workers for delivers. The group filed the proposal with the state’s AG, who is not on their side:
The Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work, whose members include Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart Inc, filed the proposal with the state’s attorney general, who must certify whether the proposed question meets constitutional requirements.
That attorney general is Maura Healey, a Democrat who last year sued to challenge the designations by Uber and Lyft of their drivers as contractors not entitled to benefits like a minimum wage, overtime and earned sick time.
If the attorney general certifies the filing, the next step would be for the group to gather signatures on a petition to get the measure on the ballot. The measure includes things like a minimum pay rate for drivers and a healthcare stipend.
The proposal would establish an earnings floor equal to 120% of the Massachusetts minimum wage for app-based rideshare and delivery drivers, or $18 an hour in 2023 before tips. Drivers would be guaranteed at least $0.26 per mile to cover vehicle upkeep and gas.
Rideshare and delivery network companies would be required to pay healthcare stipends if drivers work at least 15 hours per week. Drivers could also earn paid sick time and paid family and medical leave.
Opponents of the measure aren’t buying it, saying that it’s a way for the companies to avoid paying proper taxes while screwing over drivers. The chair of the Boston Independent Drivers Guild called it “exploitation” and “the gig economy’s way of trying to create a sub-class of workers.”
If approved, the measure would go to voters in November of ‘22.