IBT - International Brotherhood of Teamsters

04/22/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/22/2024 00:52

Teamsters, Massachusetts Lawmakers Join Forces to Fight Gig Worker Misclassification

Union Members Vote to Endorse Edwards-Vargas Legislation to Fight Big Tech

Press Contact: Matt McQuaid Phone: (617) 894-0669 Email: [email protected]

(BOSTON) - Today, Teamsters Local 25 members were joined by State Senator Lydia Edwards (D - Third Suffolk) at a monthly membership meeting where they voted unanimously to endorse S.627/H.1158.The two bills, authored by Edwards and State Representative Andy Vargas (D - Third Essex), 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.

"These bills are critical to our union," said Tom Mari, President of Teamsters Local 25. "Workers' wages, work rules, benefits, and pension plans are all at stake in this fight. We can't allow greedy CEOs from Silicon Valley to destroy the good jobs we fought to create in Massachusetts."

"Three things every single worker needs to have are just pay - a living wage; be free from abuse on the work site - that means things like physical abuse and discrimination - and the right to form a union," Edwards said. "This bill protects all three of those things and protects employee status. It is the only bill that does all of that."

The endorsement of the Edwards-Vargas legislation comes amid a push by Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and other Big Tech firms to force a referendum on the November ballot. If passed, it would legitimize many app-based companies' unlawful business model, which relies on misclassifying workers as independent contractors to cheat them out of collective bargaining rights, minimum wage protections, overtime eligibility, unemployment insurance, and other benefits exclusive to W-2 employees.

"Union jobs like mine are the most sought-after careers in my field because the compensation is so good," said Kim Cavanaugh, a Local 25 member in the trade show industry. "There are plenty of people out there doing the same job as me, but a lot of them are earning half as much as what I make because they're not Teamsters. We should fight for policies that raise those workers up to my standard. This terrible Big Tech referendum does the exact opposite of that."

A recording of the proceedings can be found here: /ibt.io/nomisclassinmass.

Founded in 1903, Teamsters Local 25 represents thousands of workers in a wide variety of industries throughout the Greater Boston area. For more information, go to teamsterslocal25.com