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08/29/2019 | Combating Wage Theft

Working Washington Wins Big for Thousands of DoorDash Workers

The fast-growing gig economy provides flexibility and opportunity for millions of workers and consumers. Billions of dollars are pouring into these platforms: Instacart’s revenues grew 75 percent over one year, and the company is now valued at over $7.6 billion. DoorDash is now valued at over $12 billion. 

But the workers fueling the rapid expansion of app-based work experience low pay and tip theft, and due to their status as independent contractors they lack access to either employer-provided benefits or the public safety net. Our recent survey of hundreds of Instacart workers showed they earn an average of $7.66 an hour. Many workers put in long hours, others use gig work earnings to supplement their income from a conventional job, but all are relying on their gig income, derived through opaque and ever-changing pay structures, to meet basic needs.

For the past year, CPD has supported Working Washington in engaging thousands of gig workers at Postmates, DoorDash, Instacart, and Caviar. When Instacart workers reported a drop in pay late last year, we tapped into the informal digital spaces where workers congregate and collected data to show that Instacart had begun repurposing customers’ tips to pay wages. Since then we have engaged over 10,000 workers performing app-based food and grocery delivery—the largest base of non-driver gig workers in the country. Much of our engagement has grown organically from the online pay calculator we developed to help Instacart and DoorDash workers navigate these companies’ purposely opaque compensation systems. The pay calculator has enabled us to bring thousands of workers into the campaign and to collect the first national data on the income earned on these apps.

Working Washington executed an aggressive communications strategy that made national news and drove Instacart to change its pay model and pay restitution to its workers. Working Washington drove a similar campaign to pressure DoorDash to abandon its policy of using customer tips to offset, rather than add to, the compensation the company provides to drivers. After vocal criticism from workers and customers that garnered extensive media coverage, DoorDash recently committed to revising its pay practices. 

Now Working Washington is scaling organizing efforts to win industry change, including through strategic engagement with platforms that seek to lead on “high road” labor practices, while developing a strategy to win transformative change through policy fights and mass mobilization of gig workers. Please make a donation today to support this critical fight for workers’ rights.