DoorDash workers stage a strike over tip transparency on deliveries
The action was organized on Reddit on July 31 and required the company to respond to major backlash.
On Saturday, July 31, hundreds of DoorDash workers, or “dashers” went on strike, demanding a higher base pay and tip transparency.
The nationwide strike was not affiliated with any particular organization, and appeared to have been organized through Reddit, where a July 15 post circulated, titled, “DOORDASH BOYCOTT ON JULY 31ST ALL DAY!!”
doordash workers are going on strike today (july 31st, 2021). they’re demanding tip transparency and a base pay of at least $4.25 per hour. don’t cross the picket line.
— ayiam (@femm3bot) July 31, 2021
The post urged dashers to log off the app all day and instead use Uber Eats. The bottom of the post lists the demands, including a minimum base pay of $4.50 before a tip.
"NO DASHER = NO DELIVERIES = MASSIVE LOSS FOR DOORDASH," the post read.
Responding to the strike, DoorDash defended its practices and said that base pay is calculated based on the estimated time, distance and desirability of an order.
According to DoorDash’s website, dashers can expect to earn between $2 to $10+. Drivers on social media said the lower end of that range had previously been just $3.
In a TikTok video that has amassed over 530,000 views, driver Denise Small said she’s had to decline many orders because they’ve only been $2.
July 31st is the day where door dash drivers are going on strike. Do not order from DoorDash or drive for them this day! pic.twitter.com/s0edJLA7nT
— Is It That Deep? (@IsItThatDeep2) July 28, 2021
“As if a $3 base pay from DoorDash was not insulting enough, they've lowered it to $2, $2.25, $2.50, $2.75," Small said.
A driver in Oakland Park, Kansas told VICE that they are participating because of the lowered base pay from $3 to $2.50.
“With gas increases, it’s hard to make any money. Without tips, we’re not making anything,” they said.
I am a college student doing part time door dash deliveries. The pay they offer can be absurd sometimes. I have had orders of 4$ for 8 miles or 45mins-hour. You are penalized for not accepting. pic.twitter.com/cajBg0QFIh
— Mac (@GoodPoliticGuy) July 31, 2021
Workers have also demanded to know how much they will earn in tips before accepting or declining an order. Dashers keep 100% of their tips, but the app only shows a guaranteed minimum amount and does not permit the driver to see how much a customer has tipped until the driver accepts the order.
For orders that contain larger tips, the app displays an estimated amount rather than the full amount. According to information provided to NPR from DoorDash, the company does this because many drivers would decline orders if they didn’t contain high tip amounts.
However, drivers say because tip amount is factored so heavily into a driver’s total earnings, the amount can be the difference between making or losing money on a delivery.
Some dashers solved this problem by downloading a third-party app called Para, which used DoorDash’s code to allow drivers to see the tip amount before accepting an order.
Unsurprisingly, the app grew wildly popular. As of July 24, it was downloaded upwards of 200,000 times from the App Store and 50,000 times from the Google Play store. In hundreds of online reviews, dashers praised the app for letting them access their tips.
In mid-July, Para stopped working. One dasher told VICE that this “woke up” a lot of drivers, making them see that DoorDash isn’t as transparent as it could be.
“I think it's ridiculous that DoorDash hides tips for orders. It's very common to get no tips,” they said.
Steve Johnson, a Para employee and a DoorDash driver in Denver, Colorado, told VICE that DoorDash rewrote its software, effectively cutting off Para.
Johnson believes dashers should be able to access their full tips and the freedom to use any tools to increase their earnings.
"That’s our right as independent contractors. They’re supposed to allow us full transparency,” Johnson said.