Free Speech For People’s Legal Director Courtney Hostetler and Counsel Amira Mattar published an opinion essay in Mass Live this week arguing that foreign-influenced corporations should not be allowed to proceed with a deceptive ballot petition campaign to exempt app-based drivers in MA from state protections.

They write:

The ballot petition process ensures that the people have lawmaking power. They may create laws without interference of hesitant, deadlocked, and compromised legislatures. But the people’s voice cannot be heard if wealthy special interests – including corporations reliant on the backing of powerful foreign entities – wield their unmatched financial resources to push through petitions designed to deceive voters. Such maneuvering is unconstitutional.

Ballot petition on app-based deliveries masks proponents' true intent

Read the full essay here

The essay was adapted from an amicus brief Free Speech For People filed in El Koussa v. Campbell in support of voters who have asked the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to block placement of five petitions on the November 2024 ballot that would exclude app-based drivers in Massachusetts from state benefits and protections. The petitions were introduced by representatives of delivery and transportation companies, like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart. For the second time in three years, these companies introduced confusing, misleading ballot petitions that would strip their workers of valuable protections, and they are willing to spend big to garner public support to push these petitions onto the ballot and into law. 

In September 2023, representatives of delivery and transportation companies gathered signatures on five certified petitions that exempt app-based drivers from being designated “employees” under Massachusetts law. All five petitions would exempt companies from responsibilities and obligations otherwise required of employers under various chapters of Massachusetts law, costing their workers the protection of labor and social safety net laws. Three of those petitions offer in return only subpar benefits that most drivers will not qualify for. Two of them would provide their drivers with no benefits at all.

Read more about the amicus brief here