Social Justice, Business, Tech Groups Launch Coalition in Support of App-Based Workers

New group aims to protect workers by advocating for extending benefits and protections, while preserving flexibility.

Survey after survey shows workers want to remain independent contractors over employment because of the freedom, flexibility to work when, where & for however long they want. 

CONTACT: Conor Yunits, 857-276-8479,

BOSTON, MA – March 3, 2021 – The Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work officially launched today in support of app-based workers. Founding members of the Coalition include the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) and a diverse mix of organizations from across Massachusetts. The coalition will advocate for increased benefits and protections for gig economy workers while ensuring they maintain the flexibility they overwhelmingly value. 

“App-based work has been key for Black and Brown communities, who continue to suffer discrimination through traditional hiring practices,” said Dr. J. Keith Motley, Consultant/President & CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. “Having the flexibility to work when, where and for however long we want, with few barriers to entry, means we are able to build work around our lives, instead of the other way around. It’s allowed us to supplement our incomes as traditional jobs have disappeared during the pandemic and will be slow to come back. That’s why it’s so vital for communities of color that we protect these earning opportunities while also strengthening them with additional benefits and protections.”

More than 54 percent of app-based workers in Massachusetts work less than five hours per week, while 83 percent use the apps less than 15 hours per week. These are parents who have busy schedules, retirees, students, and individuals who have another full-time job. On-demand, flexible schedules are extremely important to them, allowing workers to set their own hours while earning additional income. Many turn to driving because a traditional job simply doesn’t fit their needs or isn’t available to them. In addition, many people turn to app-based platforms as a fallback after losing their job, which is especially important as Massachusetts faces an unemployment crisis where traditional jobs may be slow to come back.

“My family relies on my ability to work around our crowded schedules, which I’m able to do as an independent contractor,” said Yulimar Cordova of Boston, who earns with DoorDash. “Being an employee and having to fit a traditional work shift into our life won’t work for me. I want to be able to earn more benefits to further support my family needs, but my freedom and flexibility to work wherever, whenever and for how long I want has to be protected.” 

App-based gig economy workers have made clear their desire to remain independent contractors and protect this flexibility. A survey by The Rideshare Guy found that drivers wanted to remain independent by a 4-to-1 margin, and polling from Global Strategies Group found that 82 percent of respondents would rather be considered an “independent contractor” than an employee. This tracks with national trends that say fewer than 1 out of 10 independent contractors would prefer a traditional employment relationship, and many Americans increasingly prefer independent work.

“TechNet’s members believe that worker benefits need not flow exclusively from an employer who has control over when, where, and how work gets done; nor should the growing, dynamic, independent workforce be denied protections and benefits because they do not fit a narrow, often outdated definition of employment,” said Chris Gilrein, Executive Director, Massachusetts & Northeast, TechNet. “TechNet supports policies that maintain the independence that these workers desire with the protections that they deserve.” 

“Flexible, app-based work has become a lifeline for young people in Boston who are trying to get through college and break the cycle of poverty, gang violence and income inequality that impacts too many of our neighborhoods,” said Boston Uncornered Co-Founders Mark Culliton and Michelle Caldeira. “The opportunity and freedom to sign into an app and work a few hours here or there is helping them earn and shape a better life. We proudly support this effort to protect that freedom while also helping these workers secure more benefits and protections. This is a win-win for our kids and our communities.”

Founding coalition members include:

  • Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts
  • Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM)
  • Lyft
  • Elevate Boston Foundation
  • Mass High Tech Council
  • DoorDash
  • College Bound Dorchester/Boston Uncornered
  • Instacart
  • TechNet
  • Uber
  • The Internet Association
  • Postmates

The recent passage of Proposition 22 in California demonstrates the widespread support for preserving flexible work with access to benefits. The broad support from drivers and voters across the political spectrum underscored that policymakers and other stakeholders must find solutions that provide independence plus benefits.

Learn more about the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work at: