GLOUCESTER DAILY TIMES: “Bay State Tuesday Midday Update”

BY CHRIS LISINSKI —  APRIL 7, 2020

Lawmakers Call for Ride-Hailing Driver Protections: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and state Rep. Mike Connolly joined ride-hailing drivers Monday in a call for companies such as Uber and Lyft to classify workers as full-time employees with greater protections during the coronavirus crisis. Warren told drivers that the companies are “denying you basic job protections by misclassifying you as independent contractors” and reiterated demands she made last week that all ride-hailing workers be granted employee status, hazard pay and 14 days of guaranteed sick leave accessible without a doctor’s note. “I want to be loud and clear on this one: you are employees and you should have all of the rights and protections that come with that,” Warren said. “These companies are boosting their profits by denying you basic protection, and it is putting your health and your economic safety at risk, and it is putting the health and economic safety of your families at risk. It is just wrong.” Connolly echoed her remarks, telling workers they are “on the front lines of a war against this virus” and deserve protection. The virtual event was organized by the Boston Independent Drivers Guild and concluded with a “rolling rally” around the Boston area. In a statement, Lyft spokeswoman Campbell Matthews said, “Attempting to force TNCs to adopt an employment model in the midst of this crisis would result in the widespread elimination of work for thousands and the immediate interruption of essential services for vulnerable populations. It will hurt drivers and at-risk communities at a time when they need our services most.” Uber spokesman Alix Anfang said the company backs legislation that would grant more protections for independent workers and that current laws “present a forced choice between flexibility and protection.”

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