As Massachusetts becomes the latest battleground state in the fight for gig worker rights, advocates on Wednesday accused Lyft of attempting to purchase a law by giving over $14 million to a committee pushing a ballot initiative to prevent app-based drivers from being classified as employees.\r\n\r\n\u0022Remember when gig corporations bought a law in California for $200 million? They\u0026#039;re at it again––this time, in Massachusetts.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe Boston Globe reports Lyft gave $14.4 million to Flexibility and Benefits for Massachusetts Drivers, a coalition established to fund an upcoming state ballot measure to keep ride-hailing and delivery app drivers classified as independent contractors. Such a policy would free companies like Lyft from having to pay a minimum wage or provide certain workplace rights, protections, and benefits that employees receive.\r\n\r\nRecords reveal that most of Lyft\u0026#039;s investment came in a single $13 million December contribution—by far the biggest ever recorded by the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance.\r\n\r\n\u0022Big Tech is trying to buy an election,\u0022 tweeted Jerry Berger, a professor at Boston University\u0026#039;s College of Communications. \u0022The Legislature has the ability to prevent it. IF they act. Always a big IF.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nZephyr Teachout—a professor at the Fordham University School of Law in New York City and author of Break \u0026#039;Em Up: Recovering Our Freedom From Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money—denounced Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash for \u0022spending millions to make sure they can profit without responsibility.\u0022\r\n\r\nWhile proponents of the Lyft-backed measure—which has also received more than $1 million in funding from each Uber, DoorDash, and Instacart—argue that it would protect driver flexibility and confer benefits including healthcare stipends and paid sick time, labor advocates counter that gig workers should already receive such rights under existing laws. \r\n\r\n\u0022Big Tech is trying to buy an election. The Legislature has the ability to prevent it. IF they act. Always a big IF.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn July 2020, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, sued Uber and Lyft for classifying drivers as contractors, alleging violations of state wage and labor laws while accusing the companies of getting a \u0022free ride\u0022 and having \u0022profited greatly\u0022 from \u0022systematically\u0022 denying drivers \u0022basic workplace protections and benefits.\u0022\r\n\r\nLyft\u0026#039;s largesse has allowed Flexibility and Benefits for Massachusetts Drivers to hire some of the state\u0026#039;s best political consultants, including the Dewey Square Group, described by the Globe as \u0022a public affairs firm with deep roots in Democratic politics,\u0022 and Conan Harris \u0026amp; Associates, which was founded by the husband of U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who has argued that app-based drivers are \u0022misclassified\u0022 as contractors, and \u0022need benefits and full labor protections.\u0022\r\n\r\nOpponents of the upcoming Massachusetts ballot measure are devising creative ways to try to overcome their tremendous funding disadvantage.\r\n\r\nBloomberg reports Massachusetts Drivers United is selling 50 $200 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which let buyers play a game of whack-a-mole against a giant rat named Big Gig that tunnels under a map of the United States, popping up in states with proposed anti-driver legislation.\r\n\r\n\u0022We\u0026#039;re using technology to fight back,\u0022 Massachusetts Drivers United executive director Henry De Groot explained. \u0022Uber, Lyft, and their peers have used technology to circumvent labor laws and deny app workers basic protections and benefits. We invite the crypto community to wage a campaign against the billionaires who control Big Gig.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Massachusetts fight closely mirrors California\u0026#039;s battle over Proposition 22, which was approved by voters in November 2020 and exempts app-based driver companies from classifying their workers as employees.\r\n\r\nUber, Lyft, and DoorDash spent a combined $160 million in support of the measure—more than 10 times the amount spent by opponents—making it the most expensive ballot initiative in California history. The companies also pressed drivers to vote for Prop 22, while prominent critics of the bill faced intense harassment.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLast August, a California judge ruled Prop 22 unconstitutional, finding that the law \u0022appears only to protect the economic interest of the network companies in having a divided, ununionized workforce.\u0022\r\n\r\nAlthough the California Labor Federation hailed the decision as \u0022a major and deserved win for drivers and gig workers,\u0022 the ruling was appealed, and Golden State drivers remain classified as contractors.\r\n\r\nAs was the case with Prop 22 in California, some Massachusetts observers reacted to Lyft\u0026#039;s mega-donation with calls for systemic reform. Kevin Connor, chief of staff to state Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-1st Worcester), tweeted that \u0022there should be donor limits on MA ballot initiatives campaigns.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe nonpartisan advocacy group We the People Massachusetts\u0026nbsp;called for a more sweeping solution.\r\n\r\n\u0022We need the #WeThePeopleAmendment to overturn Citizens United and other SCOTUS decisions that have gutted campaign finance regs and have made \u0026#039;buying a loophole\u0026#039; in our laws possible,\u0022 the group asserted, referring to a constitutional amendment introduced by U.S. House Democrats to end the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that affirmed unlimited corporate political contributions.