Backlash surfaces against Seattle’s new app-based worker compensation law

Feb 12, 2024
Written by WR Communications


When the app-based worker minimum compensation law took effect on January 13, Mayor Bruce Harrell praised it as an important worker protection. Now, less than a month after the law’s implementation date, an intense backlash is already beginning to take shape from the workers it was intended to help.

KING5-TV heard directly from drivers who are seeing a steep decline in the number of orders to deliver and, as a result, their earnings. Despite the law’s minimum hourly pay of $26.40 – plus $.74 per mile driven – these drivers have experienced a steep drop in earnings.

According to driver Mia Shagen, lunch orders used to end at 2:30 pm or 3:00 pm. The orders now stop at 1 pm. “So literally at like one o’clock, suddenly, there are no orders anymore.”

One driver told KING5 that he made $931 during the first week of February 2023 but only $464.81 during the same week in 2024. As one longtime, app-based food delivery driver in Seattle, Gary Lardizabal, said to KING5, “We’re grinding. And we are for real not getting $26 an hour.”

On February 6, three drivers took their concerns directly to the Seattle City Council. During the public comment period, they told the Council that their earnings were cratering and asked the Council to repeal the law.

We will keep you informed of what the City Council does in response to these workers’ concerns.


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