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  • April 18, 2021

Exclusive: DoorDash Drivers Game Algorithm To Increase Pay

 Exclusive: DoorDash Drivers Game Algorithm To Increase Pay


An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Dave Levy and Nikos Kanelopoulos are trying to beat the algorithm. The two DoorDash drivers — Dashers, as the company calls them — are trying to persuade their peers to turn down the lowest-paying deliveries so the automated system for matching jobs with drivers will respond by raising pay rates. “Every app-based on-demand company’s objective is to constantly shift profits from the driver back to the company,” Levy says. “Our objective is the reverse of that.” Their main tool is #DeclineNow, a 40,000-person online forum that provides a view into a type of labor activism tailored for the gig economy. While there’s no reliable way to quantify its impact, #DeclineNow’s members say they’ve already increased pay for workers across the country, including in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, where Levy and Kanelopoulos live. But the effort raises difficult questions about the nature of collective action, and there are reasons to doubt whether using a company’s own software systems against it is a strategy that can prove effective for a sustained period of time.

In October 2019 they launched the #DeclineNow Facebook group. They urge members to reject any delivery that doesn’t pay at least $7, more than double the current floor of $3. […] On #DeclineNow, low acceptance rates are a badge of honor. Levy rejects about 99% of the jobs he’s offered, rapidly declining low-paying jobs to find enough lucrative ones to keep him busy. #DeclineNow’s strategy of selectively declining orders is well-known among DoorDash workers — and not universally accepted. Some question the strict minimum fee rule, citing regional price differences. Others find #DeclineNow to be mean-spirited and toxic, a place where people try to ridicule and bully others into going along with their plan. […] #DeclineNow has little patience for such naysayers. Users who question the $7 minimum rule are punished with suspension from the group or, as the group’s moderators like to put it, “a trip to the dungeon.” In a statement, DoorDash said drivers are always free to reject orders but added that coordinated declining slows down the delivery process. The company encourages workers to accept at least 70% of deliveries offered, which awards them with “Top Dasher” status.



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