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As ridesharing and food delivery gig companies pour millions into campaigning against worker reclassification, Postmates is looking to hire employees to organize said efforts. In late August, Postmates listed several job postings for “regional organizers” to “execute grassroot advocacy campaigns” to support the company’s local and national legislative initiatives in cities across California, Washington, the Southwest, New York, and Washington DC.
Per the job post: “The regional organizer will develop strong relationships with fleet members, merchants, and people in the Postmates Community. You’ll execute engagement strategies inside local and statewide markets, supporting and promoting Postmates policy initiatives as well as shaping legislative agendas through grassroots mobilization.”
Though specific policy issues aren’t listed, one can assume the biggest legislative initiative that Postmates is currently facing and engaging in is the pressure for reclassification of their workers as employees. Moreover, the company says that, through this position, it wants to “engage our community on these issues and mobilize them to make their voice heard.” The ideal candidate, the post notes, “will have experience and training in community organizing, ideally as a Lead Organizer or other management role,” and has “comfort or fluency in multiple ethnic and religious communities.”
As written in Quartz, the organizing roles could be designed to organize gig workers against changing their employment status, as Postmates and other companies have already done before. Recently, Uber and Lyft paid drivers in California to show up outside the state capital to protest a bill that would make them employees. Moreover, Lyft posted a similar position “that will support the ridesharing movement and Lyft’s local legislative initiatives” in San Francisco.
This comes at a time when Postmates, together with other gig economy app companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart have poured over $110 million to back Prop 22, the California ballot initiative that would allow them to keep their workers as independent contractors while allowing some benefits like minimum-wage standards and healthcare subsidies, thus invalidating AB5.
If the previously mentioned companies were to reclassify its workers as employees and afford them all benefits, it could raise costs by 20% to 30%. According to research firm Second Measures, AB5 could hit Postmates particularly hard, given that 40% of its revenue comes from sales in California. Moreover, in Los Angeles, Postmates is the top food delivery service, followed by DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats. Nearly 58% of all restaurant delivery sales in the U.S. are reportedly being made on these apps, and it’s expected to reach 70% by 2022.
Postmates, as well as other food delivery and ridesharing apps, have long considered their drivers to be contractors, meaning that drivers are responsible for their own vehicle and maintenance costs. Because of this, the companies currently do not pay for any benefits such as overtime, paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, medical insurance, or any other expenses. Due to AB5 and the companies’ advocacy for the passage of Prop 22, the companies are now announcing they’d start offering some benefits to their workers if the ballot measure passes in November.