Delivery drivers for Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, Instacart and other companies left the Seattle City Council holding the bag this week — or, 400 bags — in a protest aimed at drawing attention to how little the gig workers make after expenses.
With brown to-go bags lined up in front of City Hall on Wednesday, the workers delivered the message that they want the City to pass legislation guaranteeing them a minimum wage and other basic worker protections.
The bags, including one that was 6 feet tall, had large receipts attached to them showing how much drivers actually earn on food deliveries, after accounting for expenses such as gas and car repairs. Many of the receipts were just a few dollars, and one even showed – $1.78, meaning that worker lost money making the delivery.
The effort is backed by the worker’s rights group Working Washington, which is urging the Council to move forward on “Pay Up” legislation to ensure that more than 40,000 workers are covered by basic labor standards. Draft legislation — and details on pay, flexibility and transparency — is viewable here.
“Every day we don’t have these simple regulations in the gig economy, that’s another day these companies figure out more and more ways to get more and more money out of people’s pockets,” Jason Reeves, a DoorDash driver and leader with the Pay Up campaign, said in a statement provided by Working Washington.
The Seattle City Council adopted new regulations in September 2020 designed to ensure Uber and Lyft drivers earn the city’s $16.39 per hour minimum wage.
Many gig employment delivery companies, ranging from food to package deliveries, boomed during the pandemic as restaurant closures and fear of COVID-19 infections prompted online ordering to spike. But the added business also brought added scrutiny. Labor activists have long complained that rideshare and delivery companies don’t provide fair, adequate and consistent wages to their workers.
Meanwhile, some of those big players in the Washington state’s gig economy – Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash — have formed an industry group called Washington Coalition for Independent Work which appears to be looking to the initiative process or legislation to help curb regulation of their businesses.
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