Our economy has changed with the advent of app-based work and the emerging role of the independent contractor, which is why educating elected officials about the value and importance of independent work is one of the key pillars of the Washington Alliance for Innovation and Independent Work. 

In June, our partner organizations, DoorDash and Greater Spokane Incorporated, spent time talking with attendees at a reception held in conjunction with the Association of Washington Cities conference. In recent months, cities across Washington have taken up policy proposals specific to the work of independent contractors. The event served as an opportunity to introduce the Alliance and share more about why protecting app-based independent contractors is vital to our economy.  

Research shows the app-based delivery industry has blossomed during the last five years, with projections to grow by $320 billion by 2029. By providing unparalleled convenience for consumers, growth opportunities for small businesses, and flexible earning opportunities for earners, app-based work will continue to play a major role in our economy. 

Alicia Q., one of DoorDash’s top dashers in Spokane, had the opportunity to address AWC attendees and share her perspectives on the importance of independent contract work. In just two years’ time, Alicia surpassed 5,500 deliveries for DoorDash. 

Born and raised in Spokane, Alicia moved away to raise her four children and run a cleaning service. She recently returned to Spokane to care for her mother. As Alicia shared with city officials, she wanted to find a way to earn money and still be able to care for her 75-year-old mother. 

Independent work through DoorDash allows her to maintain the schedule she needs to attend to her family, she said. Policies that would compromise that flexibility would be detrimental to workers like Alicia and the income she earns to support her family. 

“DoorDash gives me the opportunity to have the independence and flexibility I need for emergency appointments for my mother, and to be there for my children and my grandchild,” she said. “This type of app-based work is something not just people like me rely on for a better life, but community members, including our elderly neighbors, rely on our service for food, goods and other essentials.

“I hope that the independent contractor model is protected at the state and local level for those of us who utilize this kind of work to meet our family and financial needs.” 

The Alliance’s goal is to support app-based workers in the evolving debate over their future as independent contractors. Our state needs policies that give Washingtonians the freedom to work how, when and where they want; offer consumers more choice and convenience; and help small, local businesses thrive. People choose independent contract work because of the flexibility it provides, to fit their lifestyle and personal needs. 

The Alliance and its partner organizations look forward to continuing this conversation with elected officials from around the state in the months ahead.