Debates continue between the state and industries on how to classify drivers as November closes in

Uber and Uber Eats are two apps that will face questions of worker's rights on the ballot this Novemeber.
Photo courtesy of Uber.

Mass. and companies like Lyft and Uber have been battling over how drivers should be classified, sparking debate on workers’ rights. 

By Tara Nguyen

There has been an ongoing battle between Massachusetts and apps like Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and Instacart which provide services to customers through independent workers, for rideshare or food delivery. These large companies have been going back and forth with the state over the roles of these workers, and whether they should be considered “Employees” or “Independent Contractors”. Both roles have different rights regarding the law, like differences in minimum wage or overtime policies, and this distinction might end up on the ballot this year. 

Proposals have been made, notably backed by the industry, like Uber and Lyft, pushing for the drivers to be considered independent contractors. Flexibility and Benefits for Massachusetts drivers committee is one of those organizations, pushing to have this question on the ballot. At the moment, they are gathering signatures for five different versions of the question for the ballot in hopes of at least one making it. 

Meanwhile, labor-backed proposals have been made to all these drivers to unionize, which gives these drivers the same rights as an employee would have in any other work environment. 

There is a pending lawsuit between the Attorney General’s office and companies, which could bring several changes to the services in the area provided by Lyft and Uber. Rideshare apps are popularized, and have become a huge part of general transportation in Massachusetts, accounting for over 60 million rides in 2022.

If the issues by the attorney general go through, whether that means allowing drivers to unionize or consider them as employees, it could me a rise in prices or the shutdown of service in the area completely.