"If I had to pay market-rate rent, I would be homeless right now," said Vanessa Bain.
She and are her husband are personal shoppers and delivery drivers for Instacart, Doordash, Postmates, and Caviar-- it's their sole source of income. They, along with their 11-year-old daughter, live in a Menlo Park backyard.
"We actually built a tiny house in the back of my grandmother's property, and that is the only thing that has been keeping us afloat."
Comparing four weeks of Bain's Instacart pay in 2016 versus 2019, it does appear that her earnings went down for those weeks on average $4 an hour-- from $26.90 in 2016 to $22.90 in 2019.
"If I were to take expenses out of that, I probably would have earned negative money," said Bain, who said her gas and insurance costs add up quickly.
Bain has shifted most of her attention to the Pay Up campaign, which is fighting to improve wages for gig workers all over the country. On Thursday, she and other drivers attempted to deliver peanuts-- because that's what they say they work for-- to the executives at Instacart, Doordash, and Postmates.
Max Rettig, Doordash's head of policy, says Doordash is rolling out a new pay model at the end of September, though he would not be specific.
Rettig: "Under this new pay model, Dashers on average will earn more money from door dash and more money overall."
Kate Larsen: "Can you say how much more as a percentage or dollar amount?"
Rettig: "It will be a meaningful increase in the amount that Dashers earn."
In the statement, Instacart said in part, "We respect the voices of all Instacart shoppers, including those here today and will continue to work closely with local legislators as we push to modernize laws in a way that allows shoppers to reach their personal financial goals while maintaining the flexibility they enjoy."
In a statement, Postmates said in part, "on job pay-out averages have increased to 21.50 per hour in San Francisco and Postmates always retain 100 percent of their tips."
They say "we've called for a new deal for the gig economy that would give workers a stronger voice, ensure they earn at least the state-mandated minimum wage and create an industry-wide benefits fund."
Full statement from Instacart:
"We take the feedback of our shopper community very seriously and remain committed to listening and using that feedback as we work to improve their experience. We respect the voices of all Instacart shoppers, including those here today, and will continue to work closely with local legislators as we push to modernize laws in a way that allows shoppers to reach their personal and financial goals, while maintaining the flexibility they enjoy as part of the Instacart platform."
Full statement from Postmates:
Building on a series of prior meetings with Working Washington in Seattle, today Postmates spent the afternoon in San Francisco chatting with the 12 workers from today's demonstration, addressing their concerns head on and pledging to investigate product-specific concerns in a follow-up meeting with each of them and corresponding company leads. As we remain committed to enabling our Fleet to cumulatively earn even more in a given hour, and unlock the benefits protections they deserve, on job pay-out averages have increased to $21.50 per hour (before tips) in San Francisco, significantly higher than the local, state, and federal minimum wage.
Since Labor Day, 6,100 on-demand delivery gig workers have sent messages to lawmakers calling to preserve their flexibility to choose when and how they work on our platform, while accessing a new class of worker benefits (such as health, retirement, and civil rights protections) -- legislative reforms that can only durably be achieved by working hand in hand with labor unions and governments at all levels. That's why we will continue to meet regularly with Working Washington and have arranged for a follow-up meeting with today's attendees to brainstorm additional ways to elevate industry standards in the new economy.
ON BACKGROUND: We've called for a new deal for the gig economy that would give workers a stronger voice, ensure they earn at least the state-mandated minimum wage, and create an industry-wide benefits fund. It's also why we are constantly innovating for our own couriers, from providing new occupational hazard insurance to pioneering new forms of portable benefits and elevating the voice of our Fleet Advisory Board. We respect the right of all workers to demonstrate publicly, and look forward to continuing to work with Working Washington and other labor organizations to build a better future for workers in the gig economy.