Lyft spends millions to prevent its drivers in Massachusetts from becoming employees

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Lyft has already set aside $ 14.4 million for a likely November vote in Massachusetts to bolster its drivers as contractors rather than employees – and the vast majority of those funds were disbursed in a $ 13 million donation, the largest in the nation’s history. significant difference. It’s an unequivocal introductory salvo in what is likely to be a bitter and protracted battle, a book that Lyft and his gig are working on successfully tested in California Two years ago.

Such as Boston Globe reports, Lyft has so far contributed to the lion’s share Flexibility and benefits for Massachusetts drivers a $ 17.2 million war suitcase board, which is intended to fund an upcoming voting measure. Residue comes from the owners of Uber, DoorDash and Instacar Maplebear. The previous record for the largest single donation was nearly a third in size: $ 5.1 million contribution from General Motors 2020.

Currently, Lyft and Uber are engaged in a lawsuit, filed by the Massachusetts Attorney General, who claims the companies misclassified their drivers ’workforce as contractors. Taking advantage of contractor status frees them from many of the costs and obligations associated with employees – such as the minimum wage, health care and overtime pay – but real contractors usually control how and when they work and how much they charge for their services. Whether ridershare drivers really have that level of autonomy or not has become the subject of legal debate in several States and countries in which these companies operate.

California has so far most loudly prosecuted its gig-worker-employee defense, first through the state Supreme Court ruling 2018, then through AB5, a successfully deposited invoice who (albeit briefly) declared these types of drivers employees. It entered into force on 1 January 2020 and was repealed by a proposal for measures on 22 November. Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates have invested a historic $ 224 million in the bid – surpassing their opposition, which consisted mainly of labor unions, for more than 10 to 1 – the most expensive voting measure in the history of California.

Although Prop 22 was eventually ruled unconstitutional, the strategy has so far been successful for gig companies. Legal changes are court-bound, and nowhere in the United States are Lyft or Uber drivers currently entitled to the full range of benefits enjoyed by full-time employees.

In their argument for Prop 22, concert companies basically used two lines of attack. The first, against its own workers, was an easy attempt to link the concept of “flexibility” to the status of the contractor, a completely false dichotomy continued by the companies themselves. The second was to convince voters in California that the costs associated with the driver’s employee fleet would either force them to cut services or raise prices.

After Prop 22 passed, every company that supported it still raised prices. Uber’s CEO also recently discussed a call with investors that, faced with potential regulations on employee status in the European Union, Uber can, in fact, afford it. “make any model work“financially. We contacted Lyft to ask if it was in a similar position.

Given so much popular bait and switching, it seems unlikely that the Massachusetts Flexibility and Benefits Committee will be able to successfully argue the same case in terms of consumer costs. Yet the $ 17.2 million already raised was paid, as Globe reports, a multitude of well-known political advisers who stood behind what is currently the most expensive (and likely to be the second most expensive soon) voting measure in the history of Massachusetts, who sought to stop the right to amend the law.

Are you a driver or a courier working in Massachusetts? Download Signal messenger for iOS or Android and confidentially send me a message on 646 983 9846 and stay in touch.

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