Labor, industry gear up for dueling Massachusetts gig worker ballot measures

Nate Raymond, Reuters

BOSTON, Aug 2 (Reuters) – The fight over the status of Uber Technologies (UBER.N) and Lyft (LYFT.O) ride-share drivers entered a new phase on Wednesday, as an industry-backed group and a labor union proposed letting Massachusetts voters decide whether their workers in the state should be treated as independent contractors or allowed to unionize.

Flexibility and Benefits for Massachusetts Drivers, a group whose top contributors include Uber, Lyft and DoorDash (DASH.N), filed a proposed ballot question that would ask voters to declare the companies’ drivers are not employees, but independent contractors entitled to minimum benefits.

The proposal would establish an earnings floor equal to 120% of the state’s minimum wage for app-based drivers, or $18 an hour in 2023 before tips. Drivers would also receive healthcare stipends, occupational accident insurance and paid sick time.