Statement on SJC’s Decision to Allow Union Ballot Question to Move Forward

BOSTON – Following the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision to allow a union-backed ballot to proceed, the Fiscal Alliance Foundation issued the following statement noting that its concerns remain unaddressed and that the Commonwealth will be putting itself in a precarious legal position if the petition were to pass.

“We have no doubt that most Massachusetts voters will not be aware of the radical and far-reaching consequences this question will have on labor law, if passed. It goes well beyond its stated goal of simply allowing Transportation Network Drivers—rideshare and delivery drivers—to unionize. Instead, it will create a completely new labor category, and in violation of federal labor law. We respectfully disagree with the SJC’s ruling,” stated Paul Diego Craney, a spokesman for the Fiscal Alliance Foundation and a plaintiff in the SJC case.

The union-pushed ballot question includes various policies, including allowing independent contractors who are Transportation Network Drivers (TNDs) to form a union, but at the same time make the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the final authority to set wages, benefits, likely raising prices for riders. While a voter may favor allowing for certain unions to be formed, that voter may also object to the Commonwealth setting the rates and not the private company or union entity. The union ballot question also disregards the National Labor Relations Board requirement that at least thirty percent of workers must sign a petition stating that the workers want to establish a union before electing to form said union. This union ballot question disregards federal labor law by allowing TNDs to initiate the unionization process with as little as two and half percent support. This would also violate state labor law and would possibly be the lowest threshold in the entire country.

“If this proposal passes in its current form, this question will not only eliminate the ability for many independent contractors to be their own boss, and raise prices for riders, but will also likely result in a lengthy legal battle for years to come due to the proposal’s poorly worded provision that preempts federal and state labor law. It would be a disaster not only for our state, but for the thousands of people who depend on the flexibility offered by these apps to help make ends meet,” closed Craney.

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The Fiscal Alliance Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to promote individual liberty and a more fiscally responsible, transparent government for a better New England through education and legal assistance.