Home > Uncategorized > It’s a Deliver-Driver-eat-Online-Retailer Jungle Out There!

It’s a Deliver-Driver-eat-Online-Retailer Jungle Out There!

Happy Friday, dear readers!

This past weekend, for the first time, your humble blogger used a delivery service through his smartphone app.  The company in question is not sponsoring this humblest of blogs, so let’s just call the app “Jungle Meow.”  After making a selection, I paid through my phone and, but two hours later, my doorbell rang and the items I ordered were hand delivered.  One step short of Star Trek’s replicator technology…

I thought to myself, “a humble blogger could get used to this.”  I thought wrong.

It appears that the good folks performing these deliveries for Jungle Meow aren’t happy abound being classified as independent contractors, and are demanding all the rights and privileges of employees.

This is a steadily growing pattern – Uber, Lyft, and a whole bunch of other similar businesses are being sued left and right over alleged misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees.  Your humble blogger keeps looking, but can’t seem to find Plaintiff’s Exhibit A – the gun that was held to the heads of workers forcing them to agree to these terms.

Among the things being claimed by the plaintiffs is that (1) Jungle Meow set their shifts; (2) Jungle Meow made the drivers wear Jungle Meow shirts and hats during deliveries; and (3) tracked the drivers, providing suggested routes and warning them that they are running late.

Jungle Meow apparently hired a courier company, Scoobeez Inc., to be the coordinator, so that there is at least one layer of entity between Jungle Meow and the drivers.  However, as my readers will recall, California passed AB1897, which puts all the participants in the chain of employment at risk for wage and hour and other labor violations.

With the technology almost in place to eliminate the human component from the delivery process, any doubts Jungle Meow had about investing in driverless car and drone delivery methods might be brushed aside.  As is typically the case, once the big boys start using a technology, it’s not long until cheaper versions of it are available everywhere along the food chain.

Archer - replaced with robots

But here’s a cruel effect of these class action lawsuits – there is no rhyme or reason for us to think that this “class” of four drivers represents all or even most of the Jungle Meow delivery drivers.  Most of them were aware of the terms, and are still perfectly content to continue under the same terms.  If this lawsuit is successful, and they end up losing their independent contractor status, Jungle Meow might stop offering this service all together, and they’ll lose their terms they were happy to have.

But, for now, your humble blogger gets to enjoy goods delivered to his home in under two hours; Jungle Meow enjoys another way of making sales; and the delivery drivers, whether independent contractors or legally employees, get to enjoy making the choice of earning a living this way.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
  1. Larry Whiiting
    November 13th, 2015 at 09:50 | #1

    Isn’t that like saying that we should go back to the 70 hour (seven days X 10) hour work week because there were plenty of people who would sign up?

    • Gregory Grinberg
      November 13th, 2015 at 10:06 | #2

      Maybe that could be the final conclusion of the logic. Ultimately, though, you have ways of keeping those methods in check that don’t involve litigation and regulation: you can boycott a business that doesn’t treat its workers well. You can form a union. You can shame a business that truly abuses its workers.

      But, right now, there are people who want the services, people who want the jobs, and people who want to provide the jobs and services… there’s no victim. What were these four plaintiffs thinking when they signed up?

  2. dan kaplan
    November 13th, 2015 at 13:37 | #3

    If it smells like a duck, walks like a duck and looks like a duck, it is probably a duck
    They are employees and deserve work comp coverage, etc in my opinion
    It would probalby do you good to get away from the computer and go to the store!!!

    • Gregory Grinberg
      November 15th, 2015 at 20:49 | #4

      No faster way to make a man curse all humanity by making him go through “black Friday” at the stores. I think I’d rather stay with the click and deliver method.

  1. No trackbacks yet.