Pressley endorsed the growing “Massachusetts is not for sale” coalition
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley announced her support for “the growing coalition of consumer, civil rights, and labor advocates opposing a Big Tech sponsored ballot initiative aiming to rewrite key worker and consumer protection laws in Massachusetts,” according to a media release, on March 12. A ballot initiative proposed by companies such as Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and DoorDash would render the companies immune from key consumer and worker protections, “such as minimum wage requirements, overtime pay requirements, anti-discrimination protections, unemployment, and workers’ compensation provisions that currently apply to all other employees in Massachusetts.” Pressley spoke out at an event in an East Boston community center:
“We are not just here to affirm the essential nature and import of your labor. We’re here because we give a damn about your lives,” said Pressley to the audience. “This is not charity. We’re not asking for [Big Tech companies’] benevolence. This is what these workers and their families are owed — reciprocity for advances only made possible because of their labor. We will not allow [labor rights] to be rolled back by enormous corporations whose loyalty is not to workers but to their bottom line. We affirm that people matter more than profits. We reject the idea that Big Tech is exempt from the requirement and responsibility to pay workers a living wage, provide paid leave, or to enforce anti-discrimination laws.”
“This state and our recovery are headed in one direction, and Big Tech wants to take us backwards,” said senator and councilor Lydia Edwards. “The fact is, being an employee is a matter of rights. We are a target because we have some of the best workers’ rights in the country. They’re coming here to target us and they feel like if they can beat us here, they can beat us anywhere. We’re not going to let that happen.”
“I’m here because this ballot question represents an existential threat to all workers here in Massachusetts – our home,” said Karen Maxwell, assistant secretary of Carmen’s Union ATU Local 589. “Every day that these Big Tech companies continue to break the law means even more vehicles on the road are being turned into mobile sweatshops. The bottom line is these companies wield a tremendous amount of control — much more than they admit to – over the schedules, driving habits, compensation, pay incentives, and working conditions of their employees, even if those employees may not realize what they are fully entitled to under the law – they don’t know.”
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.