BOSTON – Rideshare drivers rights are likely to be the ballot question of the year. But what drivers said they are fighting for on Wednesday in Boston is the right to join a union so they have someone to help fight for them. 

What You Need To Know

  • The SEIU held a rally outside of the State House on Wednesday to encourage legislators to allow rideshare drivers to join unions

  • Drivers and union reps were there in support

  • Rideshare companies say that they don't have an opinion either way if drivers unionize

  • Companies are fighting for a different ballot question that would keep drivers as independent contractors

Similar stories were told over and over again on rainy State House steps. They experienced deactivation, stopping them from work with often no explanations, and struggled to be supported by rideshare companies.

“The solution is simple. A seat at the table where the rideshare drivers voice is respected. The ability to bargain with major multinational companies for fair wages and safer conditions and most importantly, the right to join a union,” said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. 

The SEIU, a major labor union, has backed rideshare drivers and is asking the Legislature to make it legal for them to unionize. If it doesn’t get approved by the Legislature in time, they will take it to the ballot, allowing voters to decide. 

“One fight. One fight for worker justice. One fight for economic justice. One fight for racial justice. One fight for immigrant justice. One fight for rideshare. Driver justice,” called SEIU Secretary-Treasurer April Verrett. 

Spectrum News 1 spoke with the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work. The group representing rideshare companies, including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart. They said they don’t have a position on the union ballot question. Their fight is different. 

They are fighting to keep rideshare drivers’ independent contractors and add benefits like paid sick time and a minimum wage. Earlier this week, drivers rallied in Worcester to support that mission. 

Some want to make drivers employees, giving them full benefits from the companies they drive for, but they would lose the flexibility of being their own boss.  

The several different ballot questions will likely be decided some time in early June. Until then these groups will continue to advocate for rideshare drivers, but in very different ways.