Uber CEO calls Massachusetts gig economy ballot measure the 'right answer' ' TechCrunch

Uber CEO Dara Kosrowshahi supported Wednesday's Massachusetts ballot initiative that would keep gig economy workers as independent contractors. This fulfills a promise he made almost a year ago to fight for laws that protect its business model.Khosrowshahi stated that the best solution for Massachusetts is the IC+ model. It is an independent contractor with benefits. Our drivers love it. California drivers love Prop 22.He made these comments one day after a coalition consisting of on-demand ride-hailing companies and app-based ride hailing companies (Uber, Doordash and Lyft) filed a petition to the ballot initiative. The petition would have classified app-based delivery and ride-hail workers as independent contractors, and provide benefits such as healthcare stipends and stipends to drivers who work more than 15 hours per week. According to the coalition, drivers would be able to earn at least $18 an hour in 2023 without tips if they were allowed to use the provision. If the ballot measure passes legal hurdles and gets enough signatures it will be included in November 2022 elections.Proposition 22 was a ballot measure that classified gig workers as independent contractors. California's November 2012 ballot measure, Proposition 22, was passed. It exempts gig businesses like Uber from AB-5. This bill allows gig workers to self-classify themselves as employees and provides them with the same labor protections as independent contractors like workers compensation benefits and sick leave.The majority of Gig companies are still in the early stages of their growth and have spent $205 million on marketing to support this ballot measure. They also made no secret of plans to do similar things in other states. This brings us back to Massachusetts.Khosrowshahi stated during the earnings call, that the vast majority drivers prefer the IC+ system to full-time work. Coalition to Protect Workers Rights disagreed. They claimed that the ballot language contains loopholes that would create an app-based worker minimum wage and make it difficult for workers to qualify for the promised healthcare support. The Coalition to Protect Workers Rights also pointed out that the measure would eliminate anti-discrimination protections and workers compensation rules, and allow companies to cheat the state unemployment program of hundreds of million.According to Shona Clarkson (organizer for Gig Workers Rising), Uber has used independence as a red herring since years. Uber drivers are not independent, as we know. It is not possible to be independent while driving for Uber. Prop 22 promised benefits that were not real and have never been realized. We haven't seen Uber drivers in California since Prop 22 was implemented. There are over 10,000 gig workers in California.Khosrowshahi stated that Californians voted for Prop 22 because they had driver support and that he doesn't see any reason why Massachusetts should be any other.While we would prefer a Massachusetts legislative outcome, we will vote for it. Based on California's experience, however, we are confident that we can get there.