gig workers speak out

Gig economy workers with Working WA have been meeting for months to talk about what's working and what needs to change about their jobs and the apps they work for. And last week, they took the first step in bringing benefits & better pay to the gig economy: they made their voices heard at our Gig Worker Speak-Out.

If you couldn't make it, don't worry! You can still hear straight from Instacart shoppers, Doordash drivers, Lyft drivers, and more about the good, bad, & ugly of their jobs by checking out the video here or reading the recap below.

Then, click here to get involved. We need customers, workers, and supporters alike on board to start holding companies like Doordash, Instacart, and Uber accountable for improving working conditions & wages.

"I feel more freedom working in the gig economy. We can make our own schedule. That's what I really like. But in my point of view, the most important thing for workers in the gig economy is health insurance and retirement. Everybody needs to have a safety net. It's good for the companies and it's good for the workers."

— Wafiullah, Lyft driver, Kent

"In mid-2015, I was shopping for Instacart, on an order that had multiple cases of liquid. I fill the cart, and all of a sudden, it feels like somebody has taken an axe to my knee. I called up Instacart and had to be released from the order. I had to get surgery and take a bunch of time off, and I ended up in a homeless respite shelter. After I got out of the shelter, I lived in a tent in the woods for three weeks. I kept working because there was nothing else I could do. I couldn't earn enough money to get a down payment on an apartment. I spent about a year and a half in the homeless shelter system.

The fallout from being injured — being out of work and becoming homeless — would not have happened if there had been benefits in place. If I had workers' comp and insurance when I was recovering from the injury I sustained working my heart out for these people, I would not have been homeless."

— Corwin, Shipt/Instacart shopper, Shoreline

"I'm not really protected by the laws that other workers have here in Washington state. I don't have healthcare, I don't have time off, I don't have sick leave — I'm not even protected if I get hurt on the job, which I have been once before. I'm not protected with unemployment if I get deactivated. The companies expect us to be reliable, but right now, we cannot rely on them. It is time for better standards to be set."

— Mia, Instacart shopper, Seattle

"I'm a W2 worker at a tech company. For me, this is a side gig, but I know people who do this full-time and this is their livelihood. I've heard horror stories. I've seen people who were experienced, who had been doing this for two years and were never late on their deliveries, and all it takes is about two errors. You get a warning email and then you get a dismissal email. Most of the time, it's not really their fault. Traffic jams are horrendous. When you don't deliver on time, you get dinged. If a package is stolen, you get dinged.

It would be nice to have workers' voices out there and some upward channels for communication."

— Roy, Amazon Flex courier, Seattle

"One of the ads I saw said you could do this for a living. Well, I quit my day job because I was thinking, '$25 an hour, heck yeah!'

But you put all you can into this gig, and then you see the decrease in pay over time. It's so minute you don't even notice it until you're getting behind on your bills, and then you end up losing your home. That's my story. I couldn't afford rent anymore. I was living in my van, waking up every morning, and having to go work 12 hours a day just to get by, and then pouring that money back into gas for my car. Sometimes I barely made $100 in that 12-hour day."

— Chris, former Doordash driver, Everett

Workers like Chris, Mia, Roy, Corwin, & Wafiullah speaking out about their work conditions is a huge step in making change. They're fighting to bring portable benefits & better wages to their jobs. But they can't do it alone.

Click here & sign up to help spread the word about our gig workers campaign.

When we all stand together, we can push back against these new issues workers are facing by building new models for workers' rights. Gig workers are on the front lines of our changing economy — so stand with them and let's fight together!