Seattle’s Wage for Gig Food Drivers Means $26 Coffee


Progressive Seattle passed a minimum wage for app-based food delivery drivers in the city. The Mayor and City Council boasted how no one had done this before. The wage is based on “engaged Minutes” multiplied by “wage equivalent rate,” multiplied by “associated cost factor,” and multiplied by “associated mileage factor,” Reason explained. The law does the calculations if you’re confused.

That means $26 coffee and $32 sandwiches in the real world. Needless to say, the elderly and poor can’t afford it, anyone with sense is canceling their apps, and some drivers now make half of what they used to.

Some drivers are happy because it hasn’t affected them yet—‘yet’ being the operative word.

King 5 spoke with drivers who said that on typically busy delivery days, groups of drivers could be seen waiting around together in high-density restaurant areas.

“They’re not telling the whole story,” one driver 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 this week last year: $931. But this week, he only made $464.81.

The driver’s fee makes up about a third of the cost of the order.

DoorDash reported 30,000 fewer orders within the first two weeks of the ordinance taking effect.

“It makes no sense for anybody — for the workers, for the users, and for all of us in Seattle. It makes no sense,” said Marcos Wanless with the Seattle Latino Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “Are all those people going to still order because it is more expensive? No, they are going to order less.”

People are revolting by canceling food deliveries.

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

Mayor Bruce Harrell lauded the city’s efforts to empower local gig workers in a press release in January.

One woman shared her recent experience on the Uber Eats app with King 5.

“My eyes were bulging out of my skull,” she said, laughing. “What is this?!”

She continued, “I ordered like a $12 sandwich. But then the $12 grew to $32.”

She wonders what elderly residents or others who are more reliant on delivery services must feel like.

She added, “I just deleted the app. I exited out of the app and just deleted it.”

Amazingly, no one was literate enough in economics to foresee the obvious. Let’s not forget that Joe Biden has a similar idea for the entire nation.

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