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Somerville City Council votes to stop misclassification of Uber & Lyft workers

Lyft and Uber

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — The Somerville City Council unanimously voted to pass a resolution aimed at stopping Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and other so-called ‘gig’ companies from abusing drivers by misclassifying them as independent contractors.

Massachusetts State Auditor Diana DiZoglio released an official report ‘Assessing Transportation Network Companies’ Financial Obligations to Massachusetts Programs.

According to conservative estimates in the report, Uber and Lyft have avoided paying more than $266 million into the state’s workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and paid family leave programs over the past ten years, including an estimated $47 million in 2023 alone.

Local Teamsters 25 applauded the City Council who voted in favor of a resolution calling on the Massachusetts Legislature to pass the Act, “Establishing Protections and Accountability for Transportation Network Company (TNC) and Delivery Network Company (DNC) Workers.”

State Senator Lydia Edwards (D – Third Suffolk) and State Representative Andy Vargas (D – Third Essex) recently introduced two bills, S.627 and H.1158, that seek to extend collective bargaining rights to workers at app-based companies while strengthening state and federal statutes to protect employees from being misclassified as independent contractors.

“A comprehensive approach based on existing well-tested laws is what makes sense. This report tells us what we already knew Uber and Lyft aren’t playing by the rules, and we are losing hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Edwards. “We can’t let them change the rules and leave the good people of Massachusetts to pick up the tab.”

The Teamsters’ previous endorsement of the Edwards-Vargas legislation that would protect union members from having their compensation and benefits undercut by bad employers by extending collective bargaining rights to workers at app-based companies while simultaneously strengthening state and federal statutes that protect employees from being misclassified as independent contractors.

“Thank you to the Somerville City Council for standing up and fighting back against the abuse of the workers and taxpayers of Massachusetts,” said Tom Mari, President of Teamsters Local 25. “Big Tech and billion-dollar companies like Uber and Lyft are denying their workforce fair wages, benefits, and job protections and externalizing their labor costs onto the public while reaping enormous profits. They must be held accountable like every other company.”

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