Coalition warns of potential new delivery tax to fund the misguided legislation
SEATTLE, Wash. (Aug. 8, 2023) – Today, the Seattle City Council once again undermined public safety by passing unpopular legislation to limit the deactivation of app-based delivery drivers. The Council’s decision to prioritize Council Bill 120580 over real issues like public safety, housing and transportation reflects misplaced priorities according to employer groups and representatives from the Washington Alliance for Innovation and Independent Work. The coalition represents consumers, independent workers, small businesses, app-based services, and community leaders from across Washington state.
By a vote of 6-2, the council approved the deactivation measure Tuesday, limiting the ability of platforms to determine whether certain conduct by a driver warrants immediate deactivation. Under the measure, third party delivery platforms like DoorDash and marketplace companies like Rover would have to wait 14 days to deactivate workers from their platform, except in situations of egregious behavior.
In testimony, coalition partners and business groups reiterated their disappointment that the Council has chosen to focus on issues like deactivation given myriad other pressing issues.
“Deactivation is not the biggest threat to Seattle right now – we should focus our efforts on solving public safety concerns. This is a distraction from much bigger issues,” said Tammie Hetrick, president and CEO of the Washington Food Industry Association. “Faced with a credible threat, employers need to act quickly on behalf of their customers and their employees. Fourteen days is too long to leave a serious threat unchecked,” she said. “Circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. If someone is brave enough to come forward with a complaint, they should be guaranteed a certain level of protection.”
Coalition partners also said they are increasingly concerned with a proposed new tax on deliveries the council will consider during their budget process this fall. In the wake of previous PayUp regulations and existing taxes on services, the city appears focused on regulating how businesses hire and fire contractors, and tax them for it.
Employers also cited concerns about the new reporting standards the measure creates for gig workers in Seattle. Under the measure approved by the Council, employers would be required to provide information about a business or customer who filed a complaint against a delivery worker.
Ashley Sutton, Executive Director, Washington & Northwest at TechNet, said the measure creates a separate set of standards for gig workers, while also raising serious privacy concerns.
“The Council has spent months creating a policy that would ensure gig workers are held to a different standard than everyone else. This measure would result in unsafe working conditions for thousands of customers and employees across the city. Unfortunately, the Council has used their valuable time and energy to single out these workers and put their privacy at risk.”
About the WA Alliance for Innovation and Independent Work
WA Alliance for Innovation and Independent Work is a coalition of consumers, independent workers, small businesses, app-based services, and community leaders from across the state that seeks to strengthen and support advancements in the new workplace. Today, flexible jobs, benefits, and innovative services are essential to enhancing Washington’s emerging economic opportunities and empowering the small businesses and workers who are leading and innovating.