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Buttigieg Used Low-Paying Gig Company For Polling While Campaigning To Unionize The Industry: FEC Records

Chris White on January 17, 2020

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign hired gig workers from a platform that allegedly pays workers below minimum wage, The Intercept reported Thursday.

Buttigieg’s payments to Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) totaled over $20,000 during August and September 2019 for polling, the report noted, citing Federal Elections Commission records. He often campaigns on supporting gig workers’ efforts to unionize.

“If you’re a gig worker, as far as I’m concerned, you’re doing a gig, you’re working. And if you’re working, that makes you a worker, and if you’re a worker, you deserve protections,” Buttigieg said at a Jan. 11 rally in Nevada.

He added: “We are going to make sure gig workers have the chance to organize and unionize, too.”

MTurk allows employers to pay as low as 1 cent per task, which contractors must accept or deny. Roughly 3,000 MTurk contractors earn as low as $5 per hour on the platform, a 2016 Pew Research survey found.

Amazon, the company that owns MTurk, has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. Buttigieg’s campaign has also not responded to questions about the campaign’s use of the company.

The campaign ensured that those who conducted surveys were paid above minimum wage, a representative told The Intercept. The campaign did not note specifically how much it paid participants.

Gig workers have dealt with considerable challenges. California lawmakers, for instance, passed a bill 29-11 in September 2019 recognizing rideshare and delivery drivers as employees rather than independent contractors.

The vote came after UberLyft and DoorDash threatened to spend a collective $90 million to lobby against the bill known as AB5, as well as several weeks of demonstrations by supporters of the bill.

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