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9 Mar 2024

USA: New minimum wage law in New York increases gig economy worker wages but leads to industry push back, incl. legal action & lobbying; incl. co comments

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In December 2023, The Guardian reported a new minimum wage law in New York guarantees drivers “nearly USD 30 an hour”, but that the industry is pushing back, including by making it harder for customers to tip, limiting where workers can sign on, and adding new customer fees.

A DoorDash spokesperson told journalists that the new regulations mean there have to be “unpopular changes made to the platform”. An Uber spokesperson said “the new rules eliminate jobs, discourages tipping and forces couriers to go faster…”

Labour advocates allege digital platforms companies’ actions are retaliatory. The article notes tech companies have been decreasing worker pay amid investor pressure. It also highlights the health and safety concerns of delivery work. The article also notes the majority of workers in the sector in New York are immigrant people of colour. Workers who organised for the passage of the laws are expressing anger at the companies’ responses.

In January 2024, Bloomberg also reported that the rules are “inciting challenges” from companies, including in the form of legal action, lobbying and campaigns.

In March 2024, NBC New York released an article that alleges company responses to the new wage law have left workers “scrambling to navigate opaque changes”. One worker who worked for Uber Eats describes the issues he now faces, including changes in pay systems that leave workers paid less than expected and alleges the apps are “cutting costs”. Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub responded to the journalists requests for comment.