‘Apps increase control to maximize profit’: gig workers speak out as Seattle considers labor law

(DoorDash photo)

New legislation being considered by the Seattle City Council aims to improve wages and labor standards for handymen at services such as Instacart, DoorDash, TaskRabbit and Uber Eats. The legislation was introduced this week and presented on Thursday at a press event with gig workers talking about their working conditions.

The event was sponsored by the PayUp campaign, a Seattle-based gig workers’ rights organization that is part of Working Washington, a statewide workers’ organization.

“It is imperative that we close these loopholes that companies are already exploiting to undermine the last 100 years of U.S. labor laws,” DoorDash driver Michael Pullman and PayUp volunteer said at the event.

The legislation would raise wages and introduce standards for transparency and flexibility of work for delivery drivers and other handymen. Councilors Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis are sponsors of the proposed regulation, which would establish the following labor standards:

A minimum wage of at least Seattle’s minimum wage, $15 per hour worked, plus reasonable expenses. All tips would go to workers. Transparent job and salary information. Companies would provide app-based employees with payroll data within 24 hours and weekly. Companies should not be able to penalize employees for taking such actions.

The legislation is part of ongoing efforts to strengthen worker protections for handymen. In March, Washington state lawmakers passed legislation that sets a minimum wage and other benefits for Lyft and Uber drivers.

In 2020, Seattle passed legislation extending paid sick leave to gig workers. And during the pandemic, the city also passed legislation requiring food delivery companies to pay drivers $2.50 per delivery on top of their regular rates; that law expires when the state lifts the state of emergency because of COVID-19, which most other states have already done.

“As we begin to reopen and return to work, app-based workers need a long-term solution that holistically addresses the concerns they have and addresses their sub-minimum wage,” said Herbold. The proposal was developed with input from employees and companies such as DoorDash and Rover, Herbold said.

“While we support efforts to improve revenues for delivery partners, the policies implemented by the municipality will result in fewer job opportunities for drivers, higher costs for consumers and fewer orders for the local small businesses that access our platform,” an Uber spokesperson said. about the proposal. “We look forward to talking with the city about how best to support delivery drivers without unintended consequences that could harm restaurants and customers.”

“If passed, it could lead to dramatically higher delivery costs, which could reduce orders,” said a DoorDash spokesperson, who said the proposal would lead to lost revenues for businesses and DoorDash employees. “We have long supported efforts to bolster Dasher’s revenues while protecting the independence they value most.”

Rover photo.

Most of the employees at the event did not provide their names and not all of them provided the company they worked for. Here are some quotes from the employees, who are also PayUp volunteer organizers:

“As independent contractors, we cover all our costs. The person making your pizza doesn’t have to buy the toppings themselves.” “In reality, the apps are in charge, controlling us with fines and threats of deactivation…flexibility to me means the ability to work at a pace and intensity that I’m comfortable with the time and hours I can handle, without fear of penalties. Apps increase control to maximize profit.” “Flexibility is incredibly important for gig workers. That’s why so many of us do this job.” “I have to work when I can get work and sometimes that means working 90 hours a week. We need to be paid for our time, and we need compensation to cover our basic costs.” “In the past, apps have used opaque reporting to obscure where our tips are going. With these breakdowns, we can do the math ourselves and make sure the payments are what they should be.” “They’ve removed the ‘West’ from the ‘West Seattle’ addresses.” [West Seattle’s broken bridge slows transit times substantially]† “You receive messages that you are late and that you are going in the wrong direction.” “This kind of thing basically pushed me into homelessness.”

Lewis said the proposed legislation has the potential to buffer workers of all skill levels as gig work becomes more prevalent across industries. It is healthy for the community and the city to compensate gig workers well and treat them fairly, he added.

“If you have a huge segment of people who have to live in their cars or in a tent, who don’t have access to the kind of compensation for their work that it takes to have four walls and a door that locks, you build the city and the economy are not ready for equitable success,” Lewis said.

Without stronger protections for workers, “you set up a system of continued inequality, downward spirals that started to affect us all,” he added.

This post ‘Apps increase control to maximize profit’: gig workers speak out as Seattle considers labor law

was original published at “https://www.geekwire.com/2022/apps-ramp-up-control-to-maximize-profits-gig-workers-speak-out-as-seattle-considers-labor-law/”