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Washington State News

Seattle Councilmembers Unveil $15 an Hour Minimum Wage Bill for gig Workers

The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Seattle Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis joined with several gig workers to introduce their new proposal that would provide a pay floor of $15 an hour for app-based workers.

There are more than 40,000 gig workers currently working in Seattle.

The bill, unveiled at a press conference Thursday, is part of a package called PayUp. If enacted, it would ensure that delivery drivers from companies like DoorDash, Grubhub and GoPuff receive a minimum wage of $15 on top of tips.

Each job would have to pay a minimum of 39 cents per minute and if driving is required, 73 cents per mile. This in total would help cover expenses for gig workers and ensure they reach the $15 hourly minimum wage.

Mikey Pullman, a campaign leader for PayUp and driver for DoorDash, said that gig workers of Seattle are being exploited by the app-based delivery services.

“Companies like InstaCart, DoorDash, Uber, and Handy have blazed the trail for an innovative approach to cutting corporate costs by exploiting a huge loophole in our labor laws,” Pullman said. “By simply classifying their workers as independent contractors, these companies get it both ways: an on-demand work-force with no responsibility to provide basic labor standards or even pay the minimum wage.”

Pullman says gig workers are the ones footing the bill as they have to cover the costs of gas and vehicle maintenance all while getting paid as little as $2 dollars a job.

Wei Lin, a driver for GoPuff, shared a similar statement when describing a normal workday for him. Lin says that the workflow is never consistent with GoPuff.

“We have no choice but to show up to the warehouse and hope there are enough deliveries available,” Lin said. “Sometimes you show up with 15 other drivers there and sometimes it’s busy, but other times you get one order per hour.”

The minimum wage legislation is part of a six-bill package. It would also mandate protection for workers’ flexibility with hours and transparency of the information given to those gig workers.

Following that, there will be five more bills to introduce to the public that cover restroom access, anti-discrimination, background checks, deactivation, and an advisory board for gig workers.

Councilmember Lewis says this package would help set a standard for workers of Seattle that treats all of them with dignity and respect.

“We’re moving forward with some of these worker protections to really make sure that work is work regardless of how it’s done and regardless if it is done through an app,” Lewis said.

The first bill about minimum payment, transparency, and flexibility will be discussed in the Public Safety and Human Services Committee on Tuesday, April 12.