As Massachusetts prepares to honor one of America’s greatest heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we write to you to ask for your support on an issue that Dr. King worked passionately on — workers’ rights.
The pandemic continues to disproportionately affect our Black and Brown communities, partly due to persistent systemic racism within the traditional economy. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most recent unemployment rate for Black Americans was 7.1%, compared to 3.2% for white Americans. App-based work can change that reality, as it allows people of all races and backgrounds the opportunity to access jobs and income that traditionally wouldn’t be available to us,
App-based rideshare and delivery work gives people the freedom and independence to work jobs that allow them to also serve as caregivers for family members, attend their children’s games and recitals, make their doctor’s appointments, and help their community by delivering essential goods and providing rides. We are not at the mercy of discriminatory hiring processes, unfair scheduling, or unreasonable supervisors. Additionally, Black and Brown drivers work tirelessly to keep our economy moving, especially in neighborhoods and towns that are far from public transit. If forced into full-time schedules, many of us would no longer be able to continue driving and passengers would feel the effects as access to rides would not be as immediately available.
Independent contractor status and the flexibility it brings is a critical component that communities of color are seeking in their work. Despite the hard battles won during the Civil Rights era, our communities are still fighting for economic equity and opportunity.
To support these workers and to have an economy that works for all, we urge you to champion our proposed ballot question and legislation, which would allow workers to keep their independent contractor status while receiving new benefits. These proposals are supported by drivers 7 to 1. This will be the best of both worlds for our communities — we can continue to drive as much or little as we want, all while gaining benefits like a healthcare stipend, accidental insurance, sick pay, and more.
Our proposed ballot question is now before the legislature for consideration. This is the perfect opportunity for you to stand with us and protect our freedom. Now more than ever, Massachusetts drivers need support and action from our representatives.
If Black and Brown workers are to come back from this pandemic better than before, lawmakers must allow us drivers to live up to our full potential and support this ballot initiative. We ask that you vote to pass the proposed ballot question as legislation, and bring about a legislative solution that supports drivers.
Jean Alain D.
Jean Giles A.