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Opponents of a 2022 Massachusetts ballot question submitted by Uber and big tech corporations demonstrated and announced a growing list of allies at a demonstration on Beacon Hill today. Staff and members of the Carpenters union were there to show their opposition as well in advance of a hearing today in the Joint Committee on Financial Services.
Sixty-nine legislators, Attorney General Maura Healey, Boston Mayoral Candidates Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu, and Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins joined drivers and community-based organizations in coalition against the bill’s massive tax break and special exemptions for big tech companies.
The bill would make it easier for employers to classify employees as “independent contractors” a currently illegal scheme that has been used to wide-spread detrimental effect in the construction industry.
“Big tech companies don’t deserve special treatment and exemptions from our labor and civil rights laws,” said Senator Paul Feeney (D-Foxborough). “Laws protecting workers, their families, and consumers are there for a reason and apply to all employers. It’s not fair or prudent to allow Uber and other tech companies to operate under their own set of rules, to generate even more profit, at the expense of working people, other businesses, and our communities.”
The twenty-five (25) Senators publicly announcing their opposition the Uber/Big Tech bill today include Senators Mike Brady, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Nicholas Collins, Jo Comerford, John Cronin, Julian Cyr, Sal DiDomenico, Diana DiZoglio, James Eldridge, Paul Feeney, Anne Gobi, Adam Hinds, Patricia Jehlen, John Keenan, Ed Kennedy, Eric Lesser, Jason Lewis, Mark Montigny, Susan Moran, Patrick O’Connor, Marc Pacheco, Rebecca Rausch, Michael Rush, Walter Timilty, and John Velis.
“When big tech companies try to cut out civil rights or a basic minimum wage, we know there’s a disconnect,” said State Representative Nika Elugardo of Boston. “We are trying to make a more equitable Commonwealth. Not a permanent underclass of overworked and underserved workers. Uber & Lyft need to recognize that the future of work depends on equity and fairness for the people.”
The forty-four (44) State Representatives publicly announcing opposing the Uber/Big Tech bill today include Representatives Christine Barber, Natalie Blais, Antonio Cabral, Peter Capano, Mike Connolly, Marjorie Decker, Carol Doherty, Michelle DuBois, Patricia Duffy, Nika Elugardo, Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Dylan Fernandes, Sean Garballey, Jessica Giannino, Kenneth Gordon, Tami Gouveia, Patricia Haddad, Jim Hawkins, Kevin Honan, Vanna Howard, Patrick Kearney, Mary Keefe, Kay Khan, Michael Kushmerek, Kathleen LaNatra, David LeBoeuf, Jack Lewis, Jay Livingstone, Elizabeth Malia, Paul Mark, Mathew Muratore, Tram Nguyen, Steven Owens, Ted Philips, David Rogers, Lindsay Sabadosa, Adam Scanlon, Dan Sena, Alan Silvia, Thomas Stanley, Steven Ultrino, Erika Uyterhoeven, Andy Vargas, and Tommy Vitolo.
Uber/Lyft and other tech giants spent a record $220 million last year on a similar bill in California. Though it passed, a California judge rejected it as unconstitutional earlier this year.