The Shipt Calculator: Crowdsourcing Gig Worker Pay Data to Audit Algorithmic Management


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The increasing prevalence of large-scale labor aggregation platforms, worker analytics, and algorithmic decision-making by management raises the question of whether workers can use similar technologies to advocate for their own goals. Yet, there are inherent challenges in building worker-centric tools that collect, aggregate, and share data in responsible and ethical ways.

This project is a tool developed with the nonprofit worker group that allows app-based delivery workers to track and share aggregate data about their pay, increasing wage transparency. We used the Calculator to audit Shipt's shift to a black-box pay model using data contributed by over 100 workers in the summer of 2020, finding that although the average pay per-order increased under the new payment model, almost half of workers experienced an unannounced pay cut during the shift, and many workers worked shifts that paid under their state's minimum wage.