Initiative filed in Massachusetts to classify app-based drivers as independent contractors – Ballotpedia News
On August 4, the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work filed two versions of a voting initiative with the Massachusetts attorney general’s office that would classify app-based transportation (carpooling) and delivery drivers as independent contractors. It would also adopt specific labor and wage policies for drivers and companies using apps.
The initiative is similar to California Proposition 22 which was approved by voters in the 2020 general election with a margin of 58.6% to 41.4%. California Proposition 22 was the costliest election campaign in California history according to available records. The support brought in $ 202.9 million in contributions, with Uber, Doordash, Lyft, InstaCart and Postmates as top donors. The opposition brought in $ 19.7 million in contributions, with unions being the main donors.
The tabled voting initiative targeting the 2022 Massachusetts poll would define app-based drivers as independent contractors meeting the following criteria:
- couriers of a delivery network company (DNC) or drivers of a transport network company (TNC),
- companies that do not prescribe the time and days worked by the courier or the driver,
- contractors with DNC or TNC who cannot be terminated for rejection of service or delivery requests, and
- couriers and drivers who are not captives of a specific DNC or TNC and who are not restricted to perform other work.
Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash are examples of companies that have hired app-based drivers.
The initiative would enact application-based driver and company specific labor and wage policies, including
- a guaranteed salary floor which would be equal to $ 18 per hour in 2023, excluding tips,
- paid work safety training program requirements,
- a health care allowance for workers who meet the weekly hourly requirements,
- paid sick leave,
- Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave coverage,
- workers’ compensation insurance requirements to cover disability awards and medical bills, and
- accidental death insurance requirements.
The law would come into force on January 1, 2023.
The Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work is leading the campaign to support the initiative. The coalition has been endorsed by DoorDash, Lyft, Uber, Postmates, and Instacart. James Hills, community activist and spokesperson for the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work, said: “There is a national call for real equity and inclusion in the midst of a global pandemic, and yet, without major change, thousands of drivers could lose the jobs they rely on. . A large number of app-based drivers are Blacks, Maroons and women and it is imperative that we protect the flexibility they want and their ability to earn when they want. This freedom, along with the benefits and protections of this voting issue, will strengthen our communities and spur economic opportunities for people from all walks of life. “
The Coalition for the Protection of Workers’ Rights is leading the campaign against the initiative. It has been approved by the NAACP New England Area Conference, ACLU Massachusetts, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and SEIU-Massachusetts. Beth Griffith, Uber driver and spokesperson for the Coalition, said, “Uber and Lyft’s voting language is a $ 100 million ploy to avoid paying taxes, avoid paying workers fairly and allow big tech companies to buy their way out of the base. obligations of any other business. The drivers and delivery people, most of us blacks, browns and immigrants, are tired of being treated like “second-class” workers by these multi-billion dollar tech companies. When we ask these companies to just obey the law, they threaten our jobs. “
August 4 was the deadline for submitting petitions for indirectly initiated Massachusetts statutes. The number of signatures required to qualify indirectly initiated state status for the ballot is equal to 3.5 percent of the votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election collected in two rounds.
The legislator has the possibility of approving indirect initiatives without the measure falling to the voters. The first round of signatures equal to 3 percent of the votes cast for the governor is required to submit an initiative to the legislature. For the 2022 ballot, the signature requirement in the first round is 80,239 signatures. A second round of signatures equal to 0.5% of the votes cast for the governor in the last election is required to put the measure on the ballot if the legislature rejects or refuses to act on an initiated bill. The signature requirement in the second round is 13,374 signatures.
Before promoters can collect signatures, an initiative must be approved by the attorney general’s office to ensure it complies with the state’s single-subject rule. After this determination, the petition is sent to the Secretary of the Commonwealth where it receives a summary to be included on the official petition form for distribution.
Twenty-eight indirectly initiated state laws targeting the 2022 poll have been filed with the attorney general’s office. Two initiated constitutional amendment proposals, which are governed by a different process, have also been tabled and would be submitted to the 2024 ballot. The Attorney General will announce the initiatives authorized for the collection of signatures on September 1.
Massachusetts 2022 voting measures