The 32nd street near the Koreatown in Manhattan, New York was busy with delivery men on their electric bicycles and scooters around noon on Friday (local time). The logo of online food ordering and delivery platforms, such as Uber Eats and DoorDash, was written on their delivery bags or the vests they were wearing. The streets of Manhattan nowadays are flooded with these new types of “sharing economy” services, including ride hailing and online food ordering and delivery. With the unemployment rate hitting the lowest level in 50 years, on-demand services, which help restaurants find workers, are growing at a fast pace.
As much as 98 percent of restaurant chains in the U.S. are experiencing labor shortage in their kitchens, according to restaurant research firm TDn2K on Sunday. Against this backdrop, on-demand services are drawing attention by offering job-matching service in real-time to the hospitality industry that experiences a high employee turnover rate.
The service has saved restaurant owners from the hassle of finding workers. Restaurant owners rate gig workers based on their performance and pay them through the app. If a worker does not show up or cancels within 24 hours, he or she could suffer a disadvantage of having their platform account deleted.
Gig workers are classified as independent contractors, who are not entitled to benefits such as health care, paid time off or unemployment insurance. They do not have problems in an economic boom but they could suffer from low job security in an economic recession, when there are fewer jobs in the market. “These apps are attractive in that they present a quick fix to finding work and finding labor,” Professor Ifeoma Ajunwa from Cornell University told The New York Times. “But they’re also dangerous in that they can doom workers who use them to a lifetime of precarious work.”
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