Seattle City Council to consider “Pay Up” measures to address payment and concern rights

Since 2017, Jay Reeves has worked as a delivery driver at Postmates or DoorDash, sometimes working seven days a week.

But recently Reeves took on traditional work and reduced driving time on DoorDash to avoid sporadic wages and tips.

“Sometimes it’s a little insulting, and I can’t understand that I’m taking orders for that little money,” said Reeves, who added that he’s made more than 5,000 deliveries in about five years running apps in Seattle and Renton.

According to Reeves, who along with other concert workers and Labor advocacy group Working Washington is calling for higher wages and health and safety in Seattle, once a flexible and profitable application-based work structure becomes less reliable.

So, in response, Seattle City Council will vote Tuesday for the first in a series of non-working politicians who will ask application-based companies to “pay”.

Pay Up is a board policy development package introduced by board members Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis last summer that would improve wages, transparency and other working conditions for workers like Reeves who work as contractors for companies like DoorDash.

“During the pandemic and so far it has been very damaged or missed, or you should even take orders if you pay for gasoline and spend all this time driving and waiting,” Reeves said, noting the dependence on tips.

“Last week I drove about 10 hours and earned $ 200 for 23 orders Monday through Tuesday [and] Wednesday is not the worst thing, ”he said. “Advice to customers ended up being about $ 109 of that. So if that’s more than half of your earnings from extra tips, you can’t count on real money. ”

In March, Herbold said the city makes sure workers of all kinds have fair compensation and access to reimbursement for the costs associated with doing their jobs.

“And it’s our way of making sure companies are responsible for making that happen,” Herbold said.

On Tuesday, the city council will vote on the first of a series of planned bills under Pay Up that, if passed, would require companies to pay driver drivers for a minute and a mile in programs such as DoorDash, UberEats and Grubhub. . Betting will begin when drivers accept the order, seeking to help drivers – contract workers, not employees – earn the city’s minimum wage of $ 17.27 and receive the standard mileage compensation set by the Internal Revenue Service.

In a statement Friday, DoorDash criticized the board’s proposal, calling for the impact study to be completed before the board votes on any part of Pay Up.

“This offer is untested and hasty, and will lead to increased costs for customers, fewer orders for local Seattle businesses and lower profits for Dashers. We have long supported Dasher’s revenue-raising efforts and know that Seattle-based Dashers earn an average of more than $ 28 an hour when they are on delivery, ”a DoorDash spokesman said in an email.

While the company advertises support for similar legislation in other areas – including controversial 2020 offer in California – The spokesman said that despite more than a dozen stakeholder meetings and more than 12 months of discussion, the Seattle Board did not give the companies proper consideration.

“To date, more than 16,000 customers have appealed to the city council to oppose this policy, as it would increase shipping costs by $ 5,” the statement said. “The City Council needs to listen to these issues and slow down before they adopt policies that will ultimately harm the people they seek to help.”

In the last month, DoorDash has expanded its marketing against Pay Up, warning consumers about “higher food delivery costs”, “lower earning opportunities” and “lost business revenue”.

The 16,000 customers cited by DoorDash came from a pop-up window in their app published in early May that warned customers that legislation could lead the company to increase shipping costs and force them to “take action” against the offer.

“These programs have never promised anyone a full-time job or a certain salary, and you can make really good money if you have common sense to make the right deliveries and shop in the right areas,” said Jason Renek, a buyer. Instacart West Seattle. , after two years of shopping through the app.

“I can work full time through the app and earn about $ 30 an hour,” Renek said, “but if that passes and changes, I’ll go to Burien or something to the store.

“Everyone is going to come to Seattle because they think they can make more money by buying here, but customers will stop using the app if it goes up, and then we won’t have enough orders to work.”

According to Herbold, the responsibility to find a sustainable business model that allows employees to receive a fair wage should lie with the company.

“It’s an expensive city to live and work in, and if paying the minimum wage to employees is the only way businesses can maintain their model, you should think about whether their business model really works,” Herbold said. DoorDash nearly $ 5 billion in revenue in 2021, increased by 69% compared to 2020.

“I don’t think paying minimum compensation is a threat to their business model.”

Future legislation

Lewis supported an amendment by board member Alex Pedersen that abolished compensation requirements for some workers. These application contractors work and set their own bid for a specific task. The language is designed for applications such as Rover and TaskRabbit, with which you can pre-schedule a dog walk, do errands or assemble furniture.

The amendment excludes these workers. He passed with a score of 3-2, voted for by Pedersen, Lewis and board member Sarah Nelson.

“As far as I understand, the only law that tries to regulate so many different technology applications at one time has never been implemented in the country, so I want to make sure we are very careful not to stifle innovation, flexibility [or] benefits for consumers, workers and small local businesses, ”Pedersen said Tuesday, noting that he generally maintains a minimum wage for concert workers.

While co-sponsor Herbold said she was “disappointed” by the exclusion from the worker market, Lewis said it was a necessary distinction as a separation of delivery drivers from previous bills governing companies ’transportation networks both Uber and Lyft, which provide passenger transportation rather than delivery.

“We cannot cover everything in one bill. If we could, we would have covered it all if we had made the TNC legislation more than a year ago, ”Lewis said Friday, noting that market workers plan and negotiate tariffs for their orders in advance, and supplier drivers take orders for requirements.

“Business models are so different and inequalities are so different that it requires the creation of a different set of rules designed to [each] business model, ”Lewis said.

In particular, Lewis says the difference between wages and costs for on-demand delivery drivers – who are expected to use the vehicle and take specific orders – is different from the difference between market workers who can commute to work. and set their own tariffs.

“In that case, I felt comfortable sharing them, especially given that we never said we were going to fix all the problems in this bill,” he added, noting that the changes proposed in Tuesday’s bill were rather all will be needed until next year. through the Office of Labor Standards and come into force.

“It’s not like Wednesday, some workers will have these protections and others won’t,” he said. “There is still a lot of legislation ahead.”

While Instacart declined to answer specific questions, a company spokesman said Friday that the amendments are a step in the right direction.

“Although we appreciate the changes made by the Committee on Public Safety and Social Services in the resolution, we believe that these amendments do not go far enough. The decree will increase costs and limit access to reliable delivery platforms for Seattle residents who rely on them for food and essentials, harm local grocers and limit wage earnings for 12,000 Seattle Instacart buyers, ”the statement said. also calls for the board to commission an impact study similar to what DoorDash requested.

Herbold and Lewis have long planned to split their list of encouraging rules of concert economics into a series of bills, with Tuesday’s pay vote leading.

In future Pay Up bills, Herbold says the council will focus on a number of transparency and fairness issues, including the right to access toilets, protection against discrimination and protection against unjust disabling of applications that could lead to wage losses.

The Talisha Herald works for Instacart part-time around Queen Anne and South Lake Union, and also runs her own trading company POPPY SHOP.

“If I have windows open where customers haven’t booked my order, I fill this time with Instacart,” Herald said, noting that she works in the app for about 10-15 hours each week.

“And I prefer to work for my business because I can plan ahead and support the same customers when with Instacart a lot of sitting waiting for parties and you risk not making real money, especially if you get deactivated,” she said.

In January, the Herald says she was disconnected from Instacart for three weeks after trying to get permission for two days of sick and safe time after being infected with COVID-19.

“I was so crazy. My account was deactivated because I asked to pay for sick leave because I fell ill with COVID, “said Herald.” And it was very sad because I thought, oh. and could not earn at this time was madness. “

Herbold says future bills will help bring workers to the same level as most employees.

“We want to make sure that contract workers who don’t work have the same protection as employees,” Herbold said.

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