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Uber and Lyft drivers speak out against ride-share ballot question

Many of them said that a ballot question being considered at the statehouse would cause them to earn less and have fewer protections. Others disagree.
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 7:16 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Pushback came from a group of Uber and Lyft drivers in Springfield over efforts in the state to regulate their jobs.

Many of them said that a ballot question being considered at the statehouse would cause them to earn less and have fewer protections. Others disagree.

Western Mass News spoke to both sides to see how you at home may end up weighing in.

“The burden is on you,” said ride-share driver Ruben Nunez. “The pay is ridiculous. It’s even worse now. There were jobs that I was doing before, maybe a $40 job is now $30 or even less.”

Nunez took to the steps of Springfield City Hall Wednesday to protest a ballot question in Massachusetts proposed by big tech companies like Uber and Lyft. He said basic worker protections are at risk with the companies not being held to minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment, and workers compensation standards.

“There has to be a middle ground there somewhere,” Nunez said. “We’re making the money for them. Without us, they don’t have the money.”

Uber and Lyft said that the ballot question, if approved, would allow drivers in the Bay State to remain independent contractors, and not employees.

Western Mass News spoke with a Lyft driver before she testified for the measure at the State House on Wednesday.

“I still make more than minimum wage,” Lyft driver Raya Denny told us. “I don’t want to be put on a set wage. I feel like you’re trying to minimize or capitalize on this amount of money I’m making.”

She said a set wage could also mean a set schedule which she doesn’t want.

“I don’t want a boss breathing down my neck like, ‘this is the hours you need to work and this is when you’re going to work,’” she said. “I already tried the nine-to-five and it’s just not for me. I want to remain self-employed.”

State lawmakers have until May 3rd to pass legislation to put the question before voters in the state. If that does not happen, enough signatures would need to be collected to get it on the ballot this November.