Uber Technologies UBER and other gig companies’ attempts to retain the independent contractor status for their drivers in Massachusetts have been thrown off course with a top court blocking a ballot measure that was supposed to be voted upon in November regarding the status of ride-share drivers.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said that the proposed measure contains “at least two substantively distinct policy decisions, one of which is buried in obscure language at the end of the petitions." As a result, it was unanimously decided that the attorney general's certification of the petitions "was in error, and accordingly the petitions may not be placed on the ballot."
While the ballot proposal was aimed at retaining the independent contractor status for app-based drivers, it did promise several benefits like healthcare stipends and guaranteed minimum pay.
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Previously, in November 2020, a similar measure was passed by California voters with majority support of 58%. However, in August 2021, a California court ruled that the proposal was unconstitutional. The ruling is believed to be currently being appealed by gig companies operating in the state.
Uber and other app-based companies that hire workers as independent contractors have constantly been embroiled in legal battles regarding the status of their drivers. In the United Kingdom, Uber has been forced to classify its drivers as workers entitled to minimum wage, holiday pay and pensions following a Supreme Court ruling on a driver-classification case in February 2021. This significant change in its business model in the U.K. has raised UBER’s labor costs.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Uber carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks within the broader Internet - Services industry are as follows:
Baidu BIDU sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The company has a stellar earnings surprise history, having outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average beat being 52.9%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Shares of Baidu have gained nearly 2% in the past six months.
HealthStream HSTM carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The company’s earnings have surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters, the average beat being 372.9%.
Shares of HealthStream have lost 22.8% in the past six months.
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