Massachusetts Drivers Fear the Loss of Flexible Schedules if Ballot Question Passes

From WWLP, Matt Murphy reports that drivers oppose the ballot question that would make them employees. Matt writes:

BOSTON (SHNS) – Engaged in a political battle pitting workers’ independence against guaranteed wages and benefits, some drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft said Tuesday that the loss of flexibility that could come from losing their independent contractor status would be “devastating” to their lives.

The employment status of drivers for popular app-based ride sharing and delivery services has taken center stage in Massachusetts where Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash are spending millions to ensure that they can continue to classify their workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

The ballot question championed by the companies would allow them to continue to classify drivers as independent contractors, while also setting a wage floor for the time drivers are actively engaged with a customer and giving them access to benefits like paid family and medical leave and accrued sick time.

“It removes the chain. It give me my 40 acres. I said it. I said it,” said Tony Branch, who has driven with Lyft out of Brockton since 2016, referencing the Civil War-era promise made to freed slaves of “forty acres and a mule.”

Branch was one of four drivers of color assembled by the Flexibility and Benefits for Massachusetts Drivers committee to share their reasons for supporting the ballot questions and opposing efforts by Attorney General Maura Healey to force Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers as employees.

“Did they ask Black and brown folks what they wanted before she filed that lawsuit?” Branch asked, saying it would be “devastating” to him if he lost the flexibility he currently enjoys.

Read the full story at Drivers fear loss of flexible schedules | WWLP

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