The Seattle City Council has begun discussions on whether to regulate the businesses who rely on independent contractors, like Uber, Lyft, and food delivery services.
On Tuesday, Council member Teresa Mosqueda led a forum designed to show the concerns of people who have worked in the "gig industry," which has been proliferated with companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, Caviar, Postmates, and more.
“When I get up in the morning, I reach for my phone, and see if there are any orders that are available and good pay,” said Ulysses Galvez, who works for many of the “gig apps”.
He claimed, by showing a short video, that his take home pay was less than minimum wage. He argued that one company's algorithm punished the independent contractors who didn’t accept new rides.
"All day, I’m just sitting there on my phone, searching and searching, and searching," the military veteran said.
Mariah Mitchell, another gig worker, is using the multiple services to support her three children.
“I’m basically working from 4:30 a.m. to 10 at night to feed my family,” she said, and due to costs like insurance and gas, “I’m basically not making ends meet with rent costs, rising rents, electricity, expenses I have.”
Mosqueda stressed that her forum was just the beginning of the conversation, but she does have a push from Working Washington, a workers rights group. that is pitching a wage floor with tips excluded, and an explanation of pay benefits.
Many companies didn't immediately respond for a request for comment.
Michael Wolfe, of “Drive Forward”, which includes a coalition of drivers, criticized the Council forum saying it excluded the employers.
“I think that was done purposely, but I do think there is some room for improvement,” Wolfe said. “You saw some drivers cherry picking some trips to fit their narrative.”
Uber, in a statement earlier this week referencing similar discussions in California, said, “Uber is ready to do our part. That is why we have been at the table in California — with other rideshare companies, lawmakers, the Governor’s office, and labor unions — to propose a truly innovative framework that we believe would preserve Uber’s key benefit for drivers (flexibility) and key benefit for riders (reliability), while improving the quality and security of independent work.”
Working Washington said workers will march on the Postmates office on Thursday at 11 a.m.