‘It’s definitely backfiring’: Seattle ordinance intended to help app delivery workers is ‘hurting’ them

SEATTLE — A new Seattle City ordinance designed to give food delivery app drivers a more livable wage is “backfiring,” according to several drivers.

You may have noticed that new $5 fee on Doordash and Uber Eats orders, but it is not just causing frustrated customers to delete their apps, as we reported. We are now learning the people the ordinance was designed to help are hurting.

What used to be considered “hotspots” for workers on those apps, feel a little colder since Jan. 13, according to several drivers we heard from. That includes Gary Lardizabal, a longtime, app-based, food delivery driver in Seattle.

“Sundays before the ordinance,” Lardizabal. “You know, we’d be thinking breakfast. Today, I didn’t even touch it. They’re not going to order. It is definitely backfiring.”

Since the ordinance went into effect last month, Mia Shagen said her delivery opportunities have been slashed.

“I’ve got nothin,” Shagen said. “I’m not gonna sit here for hours for one frickin’ order.”

Even on typically busy delivery days, groups of drivers can be seen waiting around together in groups in high-density restaurant areas.

“Instead of it stopping at 2:30 or 3:00, it’s stopping at like one o’clock, sometimes even a little bit before,” Shagen said. “So literally at like one o’clock, suddenly, there are no orders anymore.”

The Pay Up Legislation, as the city regards it, was meant to improve wages for gig workers by entitling them to “minimum pay,” or in other words, pay based on the time worked and miles traveled for each offer.

Doordash, as we’ve reported, has stated their Dashers will get paid more: at least $26.40 per hour before tips, in their estimation.

“They’re not telling the whole story,” Shagen said. “Assuming that you are working constantly, then yes, you’re going to be making that much money. But that’s not what’s happening right now. Because people are not ordering as much anymore. The tips are going down because they think we’re making all this money.”

One driver shared how much he made on this week last year: $931. But this week, he only made $464.81.

Lardizabal said their “bread and butter” is often South Lake Union, near Amazon. But KING 5’s visit to the area Sunday resulted in several conversations with bored delivery workers who reiterated their wages have been slashed.

On top of that, Lardizabal and others told KING 5 they believe they are competing against more drivers now.

“Everybody in cars, planes, trains, automobiles, mopeds are converging on the city,” Lardizabal said. “We’re grinding. And we are for real not getting $26 an hour.”

Mayor Bruce Harrell recently lauded the law’s implementation in a statement, describing gig workers as “critical to Seattle’s economy.”

Neither of the Seattle council members who originally championed it, Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis, are still in office.

Herbold said in a Tweet last spring, “It’s long past time these companies and others pay their workers fair wages and provide basic workplace protections.”

Please visit, https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/seattle-ordinance-intended-app-delivery-workers-hurting-them/281-9516c79c-3161-41f3-a662-798b9db16d3f, to read the full piece.