Uber and Lyft drivers could miss out on thousands and thousands in “shortage payments.”

Local News

The state auditor is wading into an ongoing debate involving drivers' ride-sharing with firms like Uber and Lyft. Some drivers need to unionize to create a greater work environment, while firms need to keep drivers as independent contractors.

Union members, rideshare drivers and representatives from the favored ridesharing and food delivery apps all spoke before a joint select committee in March about two proposed ballot questions.

It would allow rideshare drivers to unionize to guard their rights, and another person wants Ensure that drivers can’t be classified as employees.

The union is 32BJ SEIU behind the move Allow drivers to unionize. Roxana Rivera, assistant to the union's president, told lawmakers it was unprecedented that rideshare drivers needed to pay for their very own equipment, suffered from “outrageously low wages” that proceed to say no and feared an impersonal deactivation process from their firms.

“I have never seen such a large number of workers demanding change so urgently,” Rivera said. “The solution that the drivers are looking for is to have a way to address these problems themselves through the collective power of a union.”

A latest report supported by the union found that the common wage for a driver is just $12.82 per hour, below minimum wage. Drivers can also fear for his or her safety after incidents of sexual assault and harassment, some told who withheld their names because they feared the businesses would deactivate or freeze their accounts.

State auditor says state is missing out on thousands and thousands

Drivers aren't the one individuals who may gain advantage from worker status. State Auditor Diana DiZoglio released a report this week showing that transportation network firms — also generally known as ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft — could contribute thousands and thousands of dollars to state employee protection programs.

DiZoglio referred to the thousands and thousands as “lost payments” that Uber and Lyft are usually not obligated to pay because their employees are considered independent contractors. If drivers were considered employees and due to this fact entitled to minimum wage and other advantages, rideshare firms could be required to contribute to staff' compensation, unemployment insurance, and paid family and medical leave.

Over the past decade, the businesses could have contributed at the very least $266.4 million to those programs, the state auditor said.

“We encourage the state legislature and administration to take action to ensure full transparency of driver earnings, hours worked and other key employment statistics,” DiZoglio said in a press release.

Lyft and Uber need to proceed classifying staff as independent contractors

The major app firms — Uber, Lyft, Doordash and Instacart — have told lawmakers they need drivers to be independent contractors. They have repeatedly emphasized that drivers, a few of whom work lower than 20 hours per week, value flexibility.

“The reality is that traditional employees can’t find flexibility that compares to driving with Lyft,” said Brendan Joyce, public policy manager at Lyft, in March.

The ballot query would specifically prevent rideshare and delivery drivers from being classified as employees in the event that they work through an app, are usually not required to work certain days or accept certain requests, and are usually not prevented from working with multiple firms.

Flexibility and advantages for the Massachusetts Drivers Election Committee, an industry-backed group supporting the ballot measure, received greater than $7 million from the key firms reported.

Lyft referred comments on the state auditor's report back to the Board of Elections. A spokesman said DiZoglio's findings, based on the union-backed report, were “completely flawed” and that ride-hailing and delivery platforms bring billions of dollars to the Massachusetts economy.

“A serious, professional auditor would consider all relevant data sets before reaching conclusions, rather than starting with a predetermined, politically motivated conclusion and developing an analysis to reach it,” the spokesman said.

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