The City Council voted 10-1 last week stating its opposition to proposed state legislation and a potential 2022 ballot question that would grant app-based gigs such as Uber, Lyft, and Doordash special exemptions from the state’s labor, civil rights, and consumer protection laws.
“We kicked off the month of May celebrating International Workers Day, and as we get closer to the end of May, I introduce this resolution in the City of Chelsea as a statement of solidarity and advocacy for the app-based company workers of Chelsea,” said District 3 Councilor Norieliz DeJesus, who introduced the resolution. “(We are) calling out big tech companies and advocating for our community for those who are working endless hours with companies such as Uber and Lyft and in turn are getting no health insurance, no paid sick time, and fewer legal protections against discrimination in the workplace and are not eligible for paid family leave or unemployment. These workers have children to feed and bills to pay and a roof to sustain; we cannot allow these injustices in the workplace to continue.”
District 5 Councilor Judith Garcia also spoke in support of the resolution.
“It’s incredible that to this day, some leaders refuse to stand against corporations that continue to treat our working class individuals and working class families this way,” said Garcia. “I do not believe our Commonwealth and our city can have a strong, growing economy without a strong and growing middle class.”
District 1 Councilor Todd Taylor cast the lone vote against the resolution, stating that he was adhering to his policy of voting no on all political resolutions where the Chelsea City Council has no power to affect anything.
“If people feel strongly about these issues, they should get involved in the ballot initiative campaigns, pro or against it,” said Taylor. “But I can tell you that the City Councilors of Chelsea are elected to do Chelsea city business, not to endorse or try to get some agenda passed for some other larger thing. You can do that on your own time, but taking up the time of the council, I don’t think that is right.”
Councilor-At-Large Damali Vidot said she disagreed with Taylor that the councilors’ responsibilities end at the city border.
“I think that to really affect change we need to organize, and the way we organize is by teaming up with city councilors and people across the state to push initiatives.”