USA: Gig companies support Massachusetts initiative that defines workers as independent contractors; labour rights advocates say denies legal protections
Tech companies that employ gig workers, including DoorDash, Instacart, Lyft, and Uber, have spent millions of dollars on campaigns in support of legislation in the US that classifies app-based workers as independent contractors rather than employees. These companies highlight the flexibility for workers offered by this classification, while many worker-led groups say it prevents them from having legal protections against workplaces injuries, sexual harassment, and discrimination and denies them benefits and a living wage.
In Massachusetts, these companies are supporting a ballot initiative similar to Prop 22 in California that would create limited benefits for workers, but not the typical employment protections under state law. The Coalition to Protect Workers' Rights strongly opposes this ballot initiative and US Senator Elizabeth Warren has said that these companies are "trying to use their money and power to exploit their workers and shield themselves from liability" and that they "need to follow the law, pay their taxes, and abandon their $100 million lobbying campaign."
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited these companies to respond to the allegations. Uber and Lyft responded; DoorDash and Instacart did not respond. The Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work sent a link to their press release about benefits of the proposed ballet initiative.