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Friday, March 11, 2022

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley Joins Effort to Safeguard Critical Worker Protections in Massachusetts

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley Joins Effort to Safeguard Critical Worker Protections in Massachusetts


Boston, March 11 - Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley today announced her support of Massachusetts Is Not For Sale, an “alliance of workers, consumers, civil rights, immigrant, faith, labor, community organizing, racial and environmental justice groups,” organized to oppose efforts by major corporations like Uber and Lyft to undermine the rights of gig economy workers in Massachusetts. 


“Every worker in Massachusetts - and across the country - deserves a job that provides good wages, strong benefits, and safe working conditions,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “The fight for workers’ rights is deeply tied to the fight for racial and economic justice. We cannot accept the false choice between flexibility and critical workplace protections, and we cannot allow major corporations to strip away the rights of thousands of workers – disproportionately Black, brown, and immigrant workers – in order to improve their bottom line. This is an issue I’ve led on during my time in Congress, and I’ll continue to work alongside workers, advocates, and the members of Massachusetts Is Not For Sale to safeguard the rights of every worker in our communities.” 


During both her time on the Boston City Council and in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congresswoman Pressley has fought for the rights of workers. She has led efforts to expand paid leave policies for every worker, introduced legislation to protect part-time workers, advocated for the right of every worker to join a union, and introduced the historic Federal Job Guarantee Resolution, which could ensure access to a good job with dignified wages, safe working conditions, health care and other benefits for every person who wants one.


Congresswoman Pressley will join workers, other elected officials, and members of Massachusetts Is Not For Sale at a press conference on Saturday, March 12 at 11:00 AM at Zumix in East Boston.  


According to Massachusetts Is Not For Sale, “the Uber/Lyft-backed [effort] would exclude hundreds of thousands of workers in the Commonwealth from the employment rights and protections set forth in Massachusetts law. Principally, it would significantly narrow who is an “employee” under Massachusetts law. Current Massachusetts law includes the critical presumption that any individual “performing any service” on behalf of an employer and (1) is working under that employer’s control, (2) doing work that is performed in the usual course of the employer’s business, or (3) is not holding oneself out as a business independent from an employer is an “employee.” 


Under Massachusetts law “employees” working in the private sector are entitled to rights and protections including minimum wage, paid sick time, and paid family leave, unemployment insurance and worker’s compensation, and protections against sexual harassment and racial discrimination at work. … Rather than complying, Big Tech has proposed rewriting our longstanding law to exclude their workers entirely, filing language that, for “all purposes,” “an app-based driver is an independent contractor and not an employee.”

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