Many Uber and Lyft drivers average $828 a month, as they only drive part-time throughout the month, according to a 2018 report by the JP Morgan Chase Institute. For those that do drive full-time, many of them have reported going on food stamps to eat.
But drivers are not the only ones earning poor wages.
In the past, big firms like Xerox employed their janitors and warehouse employees directly, said David Weil, author of “The Fissured Workplace: Why Work Became So Bad for So Many and What Can Be Done to Improve It.” Since these firms paid high salaries for their engineers, it subsequently raised wages for those at the bottom of the totem pole, since it’s easier to communicate how much you get paid when everyone is housed under the same employer.
Now, janitors make just $12 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“A labor market and economy that’s more and more made up of these independent contractors is all the more one where you’re gonna have lower pay, stagnating wages and growing earning inequality,” Weil said. “All the things we’re grappling with right now.”
Padin also said people of color disporporitonately work trucking, janitorial, home care, landscaper, and delivery jobs — and many are currently independent contractors. Ensuring these low-paying workers get more money and benefits might level the playing field for these workers.
“All these tactics disproportionately hurt people of color because they are workers in this industry,” Padin said. “Trucking, janitorial, delivery, landscaping — all of these are low-wage industries overrepresented by people of color predominantly doing the work.”