Worcester-area restaurants and Shrewsbury Street Area Merchants Association announce support for rideshare and delivery driver ballot question

Nineteen Worcester-area restaurant owners and association representing diverse business community pledge support for driver flexibility, with increased access to benefits 

BOSTON, MA – May 31, 2022 – Nineteen Worcester-area restaurants and the Shrewsbury Street Area Merchants Association (SSAMA) have officially endorsed the Flexibilidad y beneficios para los conductores de Massachusetts ballot question. The SSAMA and local establishments, including in addition to Beirut Bite, Calabria Ristorante, El Basha, Flying Rhino Cafe, Leo’s Ristorante, Lock 50, MB Lounge, Meraki, Meze, Miss Worcester Diner, Nuovo, Pepe’s, Piccolo’s Restaurant, Ralph’s Tavern, Russo’s, The Boardroom, Victory Bar & Cigar, Vintage Grille, and Woo Bar join the growing list of supporters who stand with drivers in pursuit of maintaining their flexibility and accessing new benefits. 

Drivers with app-based companies like DoorDash, Instacart, Lyft and Uber overwhelmingly want to remain classified as independent contractors to preserve the flexibility that gig work affords them. In fact, 83% of Massachusetts app-based workers support solutions securing their flexibility and access to new benefits. Flexibility allows drivers the ability to balance other work, go to school and care for loved ones. 

“App-based delivery drivers were there for us during the pandemic when our businesses weren’t able to welcome the public inside,” said John Direnzo, owner of Calabria Ristorante in Millbury. “They are the reason some of us are still in business today. We support rideshare and delivery drivers in their efforts to remain flexible, while receiving new benefits. They are incredibly hardworking and deserve to continue driving on their own terms.”

“Now that we’re back open again, we see rideshare drivers dropping off and picking up customers at our restaurants and appreciate how much the gig economy has done for downtown Worcester and our business community,” said John Piccolo, owner of Piccolo’s Restaurant. 

“Shrewsbury Street in Worcester is diverse and lined with eclectic shops and numerous restaurants that bring out the flavor of the city,” said John Piccolo, President of SSAMA. “Delivery drivers have helped local restaurant owners expand their reach and rideshare drivers are ensuring our residents are getting home safely from evenings dining and drinking at our wonderful establishments. Supporting this ballot initiative is supporting the livelihoods and safety of many of our community members.”

The ballot initiative aims to secure the flexibility drivers know and love, provide drivers with historic new company-paid benefits, ensure that drivers never earn less than $18 per hour of work and better protect app-based rideshare and delivery drivers against discrimination.

The restaurants join a broad coalition standing in support of drivers. Supporters of the rideshare and delivery ballot question include chambers of commerce, businesses, drivers, municipal leaders and tech groups. 

Learn more about the Flexibility & Benefits for Massachusetts Drivers committee at www.yesformassdrivers.org.