Big Gig: Gig economy workers join hands to fight for a $15-per-hour minimum wage 

As companies continue to prune for IPOs in 2019, gig economy drivers have banned together to demand a fair minimum wage across all platforms.


February 15, 2019

Last year was huge for IPOs: There were 173 through the end of September 2018 alone (3x 2016’s number), and 2019 is on track to be even bigger.

But companies with an eye on going public will try almost anything to cut costs — even if that means cutting a driver’s take-home (pay for companies within the gig economy).

Fast Company reports that drivers from companies like Instacart, DoorDash, and Amazon Flex have banded together with the labor advocacy organization Working Washington to launch a campaign demanding a $15/hour minimum wage across the gig economy.

The decline that broke the driver’s back

Janssen Sartiga, an Instacart delivery driver, claims Instacart’s new cost-cutting pay algorithm dropped his earnings from an average of $20/hour in May to well under $15/hour in January — and he’s not alone.

Citing pay decreases of between 30% and 40%, nearly 1.6k Instacart gig workers signed a petition in January.

The group’s demands delivered a big victory package weeks later, when Instacart rolled out new minimums for workers between $5 and $10 per assignment, despite what the algorithm says.

But the war’s far from over

Each gig platform uses its own algorithms, which means that pay based on distance, number of items, weight of items, time of day, and other factors varies between each delivery-app service.

Instacart drivers have noticed that the service started bundling multiple customer orders into one batch, leaving a smaller payout for drivers.

And let’s not forget, DoorDash, Instacart, and Amazon have all been called out for counting tips toward user payin other words, the tips you leave your delivery drivers are going to billion-dollar corporations.

The fight for $15

Instacart’s win in January inspired them to team up with DoorDash and Amazon Flex — a company that bills maintenance costs into its advertised $18/hour employee wage — to restructure how workers get paid.

“No matter how the pay works, there ought to be a bottom line they can’t go below,” Sage Wilson of Working Washington said. “The details matter a lot, but we need a baseline that can apply to all apps.”

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