Massachussetts AG greenlights Uber, Lyft-backed gig worker ballot initiative – TechCrunch

Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General, gave the green light to a group of app-based service providers such as Uber and Lyft to begin collecting signatures to support a ballot measure that would allow voters to decide whether drivers should be considered independent contractors or employees.
To make the measure on the November 2022 ballot, supporters of the initiative (which is basically a MA version Proposition 22) would have to collect tens of thousand of signatures. The fact that Healey had filed a lawsuit last year challenging Uber and Lyft's classification of drivers as contractors, meant that they are not eligible for benefits such as sick leave or overtime, Wednesday saw the AG confirm that the current measure meets constitutional requirements.

This news comes almost two weeks after California's Prop 22 was declared unconstitutional by a superior court. Coalition to Protect Workers Rights, a union-backed group, urged Healey to reject Prop 22 on the same grounds and indicated to Reuters that it was considering suing to challenge this measure.

The Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work, which includes Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, filed the petition last month for the ballot initiative. Uber CEO Dara Khorasi said that the initiative is the right one. It would also provide healthcare stipends to drivers who work for more than 15 hours per week and earn at least $18 an hour. Drivers would be paid at least 26 cents per kilometer to pay for vehicle maintenance and fuel.

The coalition has until December 1, to gather and file 80.239 signatures from the voters. To get the initiative on the polls, the coalition can collect an additional 13,374 signatures before the deadline expires.