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Seattle advances new minimum wage law for delivery drivers, ready for full council vote



The Seattle City Council is considering new legislation that would reduce the minimum wage standards for Uber Eats and DoorDash delivery drivers in the city. The existing minimum pay law, which went into effect in January, has resulted in tech giants such as Uber and DoorDash adding fees for consumers, leading to a drop in demand. In response, the council is considering lowering the minimum wage for drivers from $26.40 to $19.97.

While some drivers have expressed concerns that they are now making less money due to reduced demand, others have stated that the current law is not working as intended. Working Washington, a nonprofit organization, released a report showing that the new ordinance could result in a net pay of $13.17 per hour for drivers, factoring in expenses such as payroll taxes and mileage costs.

During a public comment period, both supporters and opponents of the new ordinance spoke out, highlighting the divided opinions on the matter. Some drivers have urged the council to keep the existing pay standard, while restaurant owners have cited declining revenues due to a lack of delivery orders. However, there is a consensus that the consumer fees imposed by the companies should be the focus of attention.

The new proposal does not address the consumer fees, which have been a major point of contention among drivers and consumers alike. City Council President Sara Nelson emphasized the need for these fees to be eliminated to improve the situation for both drivers and customers. The council members who approved the new bill expressed concerns that doing nothing would further exacerbate the issues faced by delivery drivers.

The approved amendments to the new proposal include giving drivers the right to sue companies for violations, restrictions on the use of incentives and bonuses by companies to reduce earnings, and restoring some data production requirements for the companies. Mayor Bruce Harrell has yet to comment on the legislation, expressing the need for more data to make informed decisions.

Seattle, along with New York City, has become a testing ground for labor standards in the growing food delivery industry. The impact of these laws on workers and restaurants is being closely monitored, as tech companies like Uber and DoorDash face scrutiny for their labor practices. Seattle’s minimum wage legislation, passed in 2022, is part of a series of unique “PayUp” laws aimed at improving conditions for delivery workers in the city.

Uber and DoorDash have expressed support for the proposed reform ordinance, stating that it will benefit delivery workers, local businesses, and consumers in Seattle. The new legislation aims to strike a balance between providing fair compensation for drivers and ensuring a sustainable business environment for restaurants and delivery companies. As the debate continues, the focus remains on finding solutions that benefit all stakeholders involved in the food delivery ecosystem.

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