Tips Tricks Dampen Delivery Worker Celebration of New $18-an-Hour Wage

Yves here. DoorDash, UberEast, and GrubHub have acted in a deplorable yet predictable manner by changing its app so as to deny deliveristas the benefit of a New-York-City mandated wage increase.

DoorDash and UberEats have taken the most extreme retaliatory move via changes to tipping on its app. Readers have heard a plenty about how Uber squeezes its drivers. DoorDash is a particularly vile company and you should NOT use them, not only for the benefit of workers and restaurants, but also to protect yourself from being scammed. From Eater Chicago, Chicago Sues Grubhub and DoorDash for Allegedly Scamming Basically Everyone: Restaurants, Drivers, and Customers:

The city of Chicago has filed separate lawsuits against Grubhub and DoorDash alleging the third-party delivery companies “engaged in deceptive practices to prey on its affiliated restaurants.” The lawsuits, filed today, August 27, in Cook County circuit court, contain a multitude of allegations, including that the companies use bait-and-switch tactics to fool customers into thinking they’ll be paying lower fees compared to what they’re ultimately charged.

The DoorDash lawsuit also alleges that the company “used consumer tips to pay itself rather than its drivers.” There’s also the question of the Chicago Fee, the charge DoorDash added to compensate for the city’s pandemic-era fee cap. The city says DoorDash tried to make it seem like the Chicago Fee was being administered by the city, and even included a customer’s tweet from January in the lawsuit: “one thing about Chicago, they gon tax your ass LMAO.”

A DoorDash spokesperson says drivers get 100 percent of tips but had no comment on the Chicago Fee. Tipping was also the subject of a $2.5 million settlement after the Washington, D.C. attorney general investigated DoorDash in November 2020. At one point, DoorDash was using tips to subsidized wages for drivers, meaning employees wouldn’t earn more than their locked-in wages. DoorDash has since ended this practice.

Attorneys for the city listed many issues relevant to restaurant owners in the lawsuits, including adding restaurants to the platform without the owner’s knowledge or consent, using telephone routing numbers to charge commission on phone calls that didn’t result in orders, and even creating fake restaurant websites to redirect customers to the delivery platform.

Now to the latest DoorDash grifting.

By Claudia Irizarry Aponte. Published at THE CITY on December 6, 2023

Delivery workers make the rounds in lower Manhattan, Dec. 5, 2023. Credit: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Food delivery workers in New York City are now earning a mandated minimum $17.96 an hour before tips, following months of unsuccessful legal challenges by delivery platforms DoorDash, Uber and Grubhub.

But a sudden coinciding move by the affected apps to change how customers can tip is taking money back out of their pockets, the workers say — and the city’s labor enforcement agency says it’s reviewing the situation.

The new wage, which went into effect on Monday and will increase $19.96 an hour by 2025, accounts for workers’ costs of operating, including vehicle and insurance costs.

Because the apps classify delivery workers as independent contractors and not employees, they are not currently entitled to a standard minimum wage. The city’s tens of thousands of delivery workers previously earned an estimated $11 hourly on average.

For the workers organizing under the banner of Los Deliveristas Unidos, a group of mostly Indigenous Latino and immigrant delivery workers, the change marked a hard-fought achievement in the works since the depths of the pandemic.

“It brings me immense pride and joy,” Sergio Ajche, a delivery worker who founded the WhatsApp group in 2020 that became Los Deliveristas Unidos, said on Wednesday. “Three years ago I could only hope for this moment. This is a tremendous change, and it shows that anything is possible.”

At a celebration held at the NYC Central Labor Council’s midtown Manhattan headquarters, delivery workers, flanked by mayor Eric Adams, touted the historic victory, which makes New York is the first major U.S. city to establish pay minimums in the gig delivery economy.

“This is a historical moment — don’t downplay it,” Adams told the Deliveristas, adding that this was more than a victory in the courts. “You won the case, the fight to say across this entire country: People deserve to be paid the wages they deserve.”

But this week at least two major companies have responded to the new New York City standards by overhauling how their apps process tips.

Doordash now only provides a tipping option after a customer’s order and payment are completed and a delivery person has been assigned. And Uber Eats now only offers a tipping option after the food has been delivered to a customer.

Customers were previously allowed to tip as soon as they placed their orders for delivery — an amount that, by law, must be shown to workers before they accept an order.

Workers say their tips have already plummeted to near nil. The city agency in charge of enforcing the law, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP), is looking into the apps’ new tipping practice, said commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga.

“We certainly don’t endorse that — people should pay as they wish,” said Mayuga in response to questions from THE CITY.

‘Productivity Gains’

The pay scale is mandated by a 2021 local law, part of a package aimed at boosting delivery workers. Among other measures, it requires restaurants to provide restroom access on demand.

The legislation was inspired by the Deliveristas’ organizing and reporting by THE CITY, which in 2020 first exposed the challenges delivery workers face on the job, from low pay to harassment, assault, injury and death.

When the law went into effect Monday, DoorDash and Uber notified customers and workers via the app that they were overhauling their tipping practices — a move several workers and advocates who spoke with THE CITY charged was retaliatory.

“It’s bittersweet — this is a huge victory for us, but to see the companies take this position, it’s disappointing. Workers are complaining that they’re hustling but not getting tips,” said Toño Solís, a delivery worker and organizer, who said the companies’ move felt like “a form of revenge.”

Added Solís: “The companies have played with us long enough — this proves why we cannot let our guard down.”

DoorDash now tells its customers at checkout that the changes were happening “in response to” the new law in New York City, while Uber says its change is “as a result of” the law.

Asked by THE CITY to clarify their claim, both companies referred to a section in a 2022 DCWP study of the industry designed to set the wage scale, which includes changes to tipping as one scenario companies might pursue to offset any additional costs of higher wages.

“Policies have consequences, and these changes come as a direct result of the extreme earnings standard imposed in New York City,” said DoorDash spokesperson Eli Scheinholtz, who added the move helps the company “balance the impact” of the law on workers, customers and merchants.

Uber spokesperson Josh Gold said the company moved to overhaul its tipping practices to incentivize workers to work harder: “The city’s emphasis on productivity gains to achieve the minimum wage will force couriers to do more deliveries — this is one way to start to do that.”

Grubhub is the only one of the three major platforms that has not overhauled its tipping model, but it reduced the range for suggested tips upon checkout to 0-10% from the 10-25% it had presented to customers as recently as Monday, a change the company made only in New York City.

A spokesperson for the DCWP condemned the changed tipping procedures.

“This is entirely Uber and DoorDash’s own business decision,” the spokesperson, Michael Lanza, told THE CITY. “DCWP supports customers having the option to tip whatever amount they would like, and we do not endorse this nor have we suggested the apps change their tipping policy.”

Ajche said that some customers have begun to share their frustrations about not being able to tip upon checkout on the apps. Some have resorted to tipping in cash or via Venmo and other forms of payment, he said. “To the companies, I would say — this is making you look bad, these games you’re playing.”

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  1. Gully Foyle

    Good plan.
    Gay rights allowed Homosexuals to be drafted.
    Gay marriage allowed for greater taxation on those couples.
    LGBTQ+ removed individual identity and replaced it with a string of letters and a symbol.
    Higher wage, less gig workers, more unemployment and poorer people.
    TPTB never place anything publicly without many ulterior motives in play.
    But if this holds true for NYC does it also hold true for the rest of the state legally?
    Rust belt sections are already badly hit and this only makes it worse.

  2. paul

    “Policies have consequences, and these changes come as a direct result of the extreme earnings standard imposed in New York City,” said DoorDash spokesperson Eli Scheinholtz

    What a sweetheart. I wonder what a doordash spokesthing trousers each week?

    1. NYMutza

      $18 per hour hardly is an “extreme earning standard”. I’m sure that Eli Scheinholz is paid far more than that for her drivel.

      1. Gully Foyle

        Isn’t that relevant? a kind of Jevon’s Paradox thing.
        Besides it is NOT the pay that matters but the devaluation of CURRENCY.
        A long time ago I was a temp at a Cummins engine plant. The regularshad many bennies and way overpaid.
        They feared the temps.
        A year before a Cummins plant in the South laid off all the regulars, closed the plant and the next day replaced them all with the temps.
        No bennies and lower pay.
        South Park addressed the problem somewhat in the recent Into the Panderverse episode.

          1. judge smails yacht 4 sale...needs work

            That is my question too. Please define “way overpaid.”

            Thank you.

            1. inquiringMind

              Guessing that the regulars are “overpaid” in the immediate practical sense that the company could (and did) replace the lot of them with lower paid workers en masse?

              “The world needs ditch-diggers too”
              – The Hon. Elihu Smails

      2. Wukchumni

        All over Godzone, many parts of which could pass for Green Acres, all the fast food places have been begging for new talent @ $16 to $20 an hour, and this is about the cheapest place in Cali to live, fer crissake!

        1. Gully Foyle

          When the plant first opened the county cut them a tax break. Still in effect.
          This was early 1980’s.
          They paid like 10+ per hour and had a work as many hours as you can. Literally employees set up trailers and cars to sleep in the parking lot to make over a hundred hours a week.
          On top of that they had gold standard health benefits.
          By the time I worked as a temp the hours became limited but there was still over time and JIT made people wait for supplies that never came.
          I started third shift temp engine test. The reason was The regulars would take a break at the local bar about a mile away. Eventually they stopped coming back to work.
          One secretary stole an answering machine. But she forgot to remove the Cummins intro tape. She was caught and shifted to another department.
          My favorite was this guy who walked around carrying a clip board and when the line went down he pushed a button to raise the chain.
          He originally started as a machine operator but was complaining about forearm pain. The company sent him to the doctors and they could find nothing in xray.
          He stated it was in the muscles and had been wearing braces from the start of his complaint.
          He had a Workmans comp case.
          The day he won those braces came off and Cummins had already given him his clip boad job.,
          One time these two Puerto Rican guys gave myself and another hire a ride home. The driver had to make a stop to have his tires changed.
          We smoked some pot except for the new hire. And I knew the new hire from the old neighborhood.
          New hire reports us for smoking pot.
          The Puerto Rican guys go in first for piss tests.
          My turn comes and I tell the Nurse that if I have to take a piss test I want everyone on the floor to take one.
          He told me I didn’t have to and to tell the other guys theirs would be tossed.
          My ex worked in the Waste Management building and we had sex there a couple of times.
          That was before I was a temp.
          Later during one lunch I wandered out to look at the building.
          There was a small black stream running from the building and there was a duck covered in oil.
          I reported it and know damn well they were breaking EPA laws.
          They had this chemical processing company they shipped waste to. It had a three part plan for dealing with waste. The second part was storing it in million gallon holding ponds around Niagara Falls, remember Love canal same idea.
          They never get beyond that second part.
          Regulars still make more than the county average but not as much as way back when. I’m certain that anyone left from the 80/90’s is making very big bucks due to pay raises and not having their health care bennies cut.
          Nonunion plant too.
          Nobody ever do factory work?
          Later a long time after I left my brother had a friend who was doing the put the lighter fluid on your finger and fire it up trick. He started a fire in the break room and they actually had to post a sign telling people not to start fires.
          Those third shift people who disappeared after the bar were never fired just shifted to new departments.
          Those were the min wages. I think we temps made like $5 per hour.

          State Minimum Wage Federal Minimum Wage
          $1.60/hr 07/01/1971 – 06/30/1975 $1.60/hr
          $2.75/hr 07/01/1982 – 09/30/1985 $2.30/hr
          $3.05/hr 10/01/1985 – 09/30/1986 Employment covered by 1966 to 1972 amendments:
          $3.35/hr 10/01/1986 – 03/31/1990 $1.90/hr

  3. Gully Foyle

    “Morty: You have a whole planet… sitting around making your power for you?! That’s slavery!

    Rick: It’s society! They work for each other, Morty. They pay each other, they buy houses, they get married and make children that replace them when they get too old to make power.

    Morty: That just sounds like slavery with extra steps!

    Rick: Ooh-la-la, someone’s gonna get laid in college.”

  4. swmnguy

    I know I’m in the extreme minority, but I always tip cash. Having worked in restaurants, and knowing many who still do; I know how common it is for management to steal tips left on credit cards.

    I don’t use most of the independent contractor scam services, but I do use Lyft from time to time. $0 tip on card; whatever works out to be close to 25% tip in cash. The reason the rideshare scams are cheaper than taxis is the scammers dump the costs of doing business onto the workers, which I find abhorrent. I try to use taxis, because then I know they have to proper insurance; but that’s not always an option these days in some areas.

    1. LawnDart

      Yeah, I always try to tip cash too, and for mostly the same reasons: it’s a transaction between myself and the service-person based on what value they provided– no place for any middlemen there, be it the tax-man or their boss.

      Lots of the gig- employers are bottom-feeding opportunists who prey upon desperation via misrepresentation and deception. It’s nice to see them put in check here and there, but we really need regulation at the federal level.

      1. Cash First

        Never use a credit card in family owned cafes, restaurants or businesses.
        Big corporate owned places, yes, get the points.

        When we do use a credit card to pay for food anywhere, put zero tips on it.

        Write “cash” on the credit card tip line, then hand the moolah to the waiter or deliveryman. They appreciate it.

        “You get the money FIRST ”

        “Say what?”

        “Fuck the IRS Today”

    2. Dessa

      Many delivery drivers prefer card tips these days because a lot of customers will promise tips at the door and not deliver. Your order may be deprioritized. Consider a card tip and an additional door tip if you’re looking to be extra nice

  5. t

    I tip the min on the app to avoid having the delivered person dinged. And then give a full tip in cash.

    But this makes overpriced food delivery even more expensive.

  6. El Slobbo

    Every time I read this kind of article I am reminded of how weird it is (for non-Americans) that, even though the transaction is with the company, Americans have been conditioned to think it’s normal to become personally involved with the compensation of individual employees of that company, on a case by case basis.

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