Seattle/ Retail & Industry
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Published on May 28, 2024
Seattle City Council to Vote on Ordinance Potentially Cutting App-Based Delivery Drivers' WagesSource: Solomon203, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Seattle City Council is slated to vote on a contentious ordinance that could decrease the wages of app-based delivery drivers, a drastic change from the recently passed PayUp law, which set a higher wage standard in January. If approved, the ordinance would cut hourly pay from $26.40 to $19.97 and mileage reimbursement from 74 cents per mile to 35 cents, as reported by KIRO 7. Delivery driver Alex Kim stands to see a significant loss in earnings, claiming that his income would suffer greatly under the new proposal.

DoorDash, a major player affected by the PayUp law, claimed that Seattle businesses might experience collective losses upwards of $74 million annually due to the legislation. The company stated that the drop in orders following the wage increase was stark, with delivery sales plummeting by 30% in January compared to the year prior. This drop in revenue forced companies to add a $5 service fee to each order, a move that, while controversial, is considered necessary by the firms to manage the costs associated with higher wages, reported MyNorthwest.

As the new ordinance stands, drivers would no longer be compensated when they accept a job but only when they are "en route" to a delivery. This shift has sparked concerns among gig workers who fear this measure would effectively reset their working conditions to a less favorable state. “That would indicate that for every single minute I have my app on I’m getting paid, that’s not true at all because you only get paid for active time,” Kim said, according to a KIRO 7 interview.

Despite the backlash from some workers and union members, proponents of the new ordinance suggest that it presents a movement toward greater flexibility and a balance between fair wages for drivers and affordability for consumers. Still, the community remains divided on the issue, with a spectrum of opinions highlighted in the city council’s lead-up to the vote. "If those costs can be decreased through reform legislation, we will explore all options to increase affordability for consumers, including a reduction of the fee," a DoorDash spokesperson wrote to MyNorthwest.

After a committee passed the amendments earlier this month, Seattle's full city council will decide the fate of both the drivers and the rollback initiative. The vote, which could profoundly impact the gig economy within the city, is scheduled to occur Tuesday afternoon, drawing attention from all stakeholders involved in this contentious issue, referenced KOMO News.