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21 Jan 2022

Matt Stout, The Boston Globe

Labour coalition asks Massachusetts high court to block gig worker ballot questions

... Advocates working with a labor-backed coalition fighting the proposed [Massachusetts] ballot questions filed a complaint with the Supreme Judicial Court charging that the attorney general’s office “wrongfully” certified the petitions and that the secretary of state’s office should not be allowed to put them before voters.

... “Uber and Lyft are attempting to shield themselves from protections for both consumers and workers, as well as exempting themselves from numerous tax requirements,” Nicole Decter, general counsel for the Coalition to Protect Workers’ Rights — the committee formed by labor advocates to fight the ballot questions — said in a statement released by the group.

... Supporters of the gig economy petitions say the proposal would give workers the flexibility they desire, while also granting them benefits including health care stipends and paid sick time. Labor advocates argue that gig workers already should be guaranteed the rights and benefits of full employees under state law, and that in practice, few workers actually would receive the new benefits promised in the proposal.

... The tech-backed committee behind the petitions reported raising more than $17 million last year, including a $13 million contribution from Lyft that ranks as the single largest political donation in Massachusetts history. “We are confident the questions will survive this desperate attempt to keep them off the ballot,” Conor Yunits, a spokesman for the group, said of the court challenge. “Voters have the right to stand with drivers and protect their independence.”