Delivery Drivers Inc. (DDI), a third-party administrator specializing in last-mile delivery, has revealed plans to hire more than 140,000 delivery drivers by the end of 2021.
“DDI is proud of our role to create these entrepreneurial opportunities for drivers,” Aaron Hageman, owner and CEO of the Irvine, Calif.-based company. “Delivery drivers have always been essential, but especially this year, we’ve seen a demand for more drivers across all industries, from grocery to e-commerce.”
When COVID-19 hit, businesses relied on delivery services to navigate changing pandemic restrictions and consumer purchasing behavior. By the end of last year, DDI’s national driver base was four times larger, and the company projects significant growth in 2021 as even more retailers expand into delivery.
What does this influx of gig economy workers mean for the retail industry that counts on them to shop for and deliver products?
As Progressive Grocer Editorial Director Mike Troy wrote last November, "In a vote with national implications, Proposition 22 in California passed by a 58.5%-to-41.6% margin, thereby allowing companies that rely on crowd-sourced labor to classify workers as independent contractors. Their ability to do so was challenged earlier this year when California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) went into effect with new requirements on how workers should be classified. Prop 22 effectively exempts companies reliant on crowd-sourced labor from complying with the worker classification provisions of AB 5 and eliminates any uncertainty that food retailers may have had about service continuity."
However, as Troy cautioned, "With the Proposition 22 issue settled, that doesn’t mean that the issue of worker classification goes away, or that retailers shouldn’t be concerned about a growing dependence on service providers that rely on independent contractors. Proponents of workers’ rights and organized labor are tenacious, and their challenges to the gig economy are likely to take another form in 2021 and beyond."