Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, on Wednesday expressed support for an election initiative in Massachusetts that would qualify gig economy workers as independent contractors, fulfilling a promise he made almost a year ago on legislation to push who preserve the business model.
“In the state of Massachusetts, we think the right answer is our IC + model, which is an independent contractor with benefits,” said Khosrowshahi during the phone conversation with investors. “Our drivers love it. Prop 22 has proven to be incredibly popular with California drivers. “
His comments come a day after a coalition of app-based ride-hailing and on-demand delivery companies that include Uber, Doordash, Lyft, and Instacart petitioned the voting initiative, app-based ride-hailing and delivery would classify workers as independent contractors and offer them benefits such as health grants for drivers who work at least 15 hours a week. The coalition claimed the provision would allow drivers to earn at least $ 18 an hour in 2023 before receiving tips. If the voting measure passed the legal model and received enough signatures, it would be included in the November 2022 elections.
Proposal 22, an electoral measure that classified gig workers in the state as independent contractors. was adopted in California last November. It also exempts gig firms like Uber from AB-5, the law that allows gig workers to classify themselves as workers with normal occupational health and safety that doesn’t apply to independent contractors, such as minimum wages, sick leave, unemployment, and workers’ compensation benefits.
Gig firms, largely unprofitable, spent $ 205 million marketing this election and made no secret of plans to do the same in other states. Which brings us back to Massachusetts.
Khosrowshahi said during the conference call that the vast majority of drivers prefer the IC + model to full-time employment. The Coalition to Protect Workers’ Rights disagreed, arguing that the electoral language had loopholes that would create below-minimum wages for app-based workers and that few would be eligible for the promised medical assistance. It also noted that the measure would remove anti-discrimination protections, abolish workers’ compensation schemes, and allow companies to defraud the state unemployment system of hundreds of millions.
“Uber has used independence as a red herring for years,” Gig Workers Rising organizer Shona Clarkson told TechCrunch. “We know that when driving for Uber, drivers aren’t really independent. There is no independence, working over 70 hours a week, not being able to set your own tariffs, not being able to see where a trip is going and not having any real control at work. The benefits promised under Prop 22 were a deception that did not materialize. As a network of over 10,000 gig workers in the state of California, we haven’t seen any Uber drivers accessing any significant benefits since implementing Prop 22. “
Khosrowshahi said the Californians voted for Prop 22 because they had driver assistance and he saw no reason why Massachusetts should be any different.
“We absolutely prefer a legislative outcome in Massachusetts, but if we don’t get it we will put it to the vote and based on what happened in California, we’re pretty confident,” he said.