Gig companies’ proposed ballot measure thrown out in Massachusetts

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The Massachusetts Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled out an election measure that would have put the classification of concert workers ahead of state voters in November, giving concert companies another setback in their efforts to change labor laws to accommodate them in your business model.

The move, which was backed by Uber Technologies Inc. UBER,
Lift Inc. LIFT,
DoorDash Inc. DASH,
+ 2.48%
and Instacart, promised some new benefits to application-based drivers and delivery workers, but would allow them to continue to classify these workers as independent contractors and not as employees. Companies were successful in passing a similar version of the election measure in California in 2020, but are currently appealing a court ruling that finds this law unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court found that the proposed measure, of which there are two versions, violates the requirement that the measures deal with related or mutually dependent matters.

“We conclude that the petitions contain at least two substantially different policy decisions, one of which is buried in obscure language at the end of the petitions,” Judge Scott Kafker wrote in the ruling, adding that certification of the measure state attorney general was therefore “by mistake.”

Opponents of the proposed measure, which include driver groups, civil rights organizations, consumer advocates and others, had lined up to fight the proposal from last year, saying they wanted to prevent a repeat of what it happened in California, where companies spent more. more than $ 200 million to approve its election measure. It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 application-based concert workers in Massachusetts.

“Millions of Massachusetts drivers, passengers and taxpayers can rest assured knowing that this unconstitutional offer by Big Tech CEOs to manipulate Massachusetts law has been overturned by the Supreme Court,” said Wes McEnany, campaign manager of “Massachusetts is not for.” sale “, in a statement on Tuesday. “We commend the court for doing well on this issue and will remain vigilant and united in the face of any further attempts by Big Tech to reduce worker and consumer protection in Massachusetts or beyond.”

Uber, Lyft and DoorDash postponed comment to the concerted coalition, which released a statement saying opponents of the measure denied Massachusetts voters the right to intervene on the issue. Instacart has not returned any comment requests.

“The future of these services and the drivers who earn with them is now in jeopardy, and we expect the legislature to be on the side of 80% of drivers who want flexibility and remain independent contractors while having access to new benefits,” he said. said a spokesman for the coalition of companies in a statement. The coalition has often cited industry-backed surveys that say most application-based workers prefer to be independent contractors.

See: From the treatment of gig workers to tip transparency, the application-based economy could see key changes in 2022

Concert companies are waging different types of battles in different places over the classification of workers, pay and profits. In April, Uber and Lyft achieved their first statewide legislative victory in Washington state, where they achieved a different category of workers for their drivers that does not reach the classification of employees. In May, Seattle passed a minimum wage ordinance for delivery drivers and other concert workers. Uber, DoorDash and Instacart opposed the ordinance.

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