Tracking a Postmates Delivery Worker's Path, and Resulting Compensation

Many delivery services have come under scrutiny for questionable labor practices. Grub Street follows a Postmates delivery worker through one night to understand the nature of the work and assess the earnings.

March 2, 2019, 5:00 AM PST

By Casey Brazeal @northandclark


Uber Eats

DoorDash, Postmates, Grubhub, and Uber Eats are part of a growing food delivery industry. | Franklin Heijnen / Flickr

Delivery services represent a growing industry attracting investment and, in some cases, receiving multi-billion dollar valuations, but critics have questioned the labor practices of the industry. "DoorDash, Postmates, Grubhub, and Uber Eats have all been embroiled in legal fights over wage theft and, in just the last two weeks, DoorDash, Instacart, and Amazon’s on-demand delivery service, Flex, have come under fire for using customer tips to cover the minimum fees that these companies promise their workers," Clint Rainey writes for Grub Street.

Rainey followed Krista Gay on an evening of work to see what the job was like on the ground. Gay spent a lot of her time waiting. "Gay’s chicken Caesar isn’t ready yet, but she’s practically on a first-name basis with the staff — a couple of words and nods is all it takes to get the order thrown together quickly," Rainey writes. Sadly, Gay was only tipped by one of the four deliveries she went on. This is pretty typical for Gay: she finds that after a few months working for Postmates, she gets tipped on about a quarter of her deliveries. "All in, Gay yielded $16.62 for an hour and a half of work, not even clearing New York’s $15 minimum wage for food-service workers," Rainey writes.

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