Pete Buttigieg's campaign used a company criticised for its low wages to hire workers, even after Buttigieg has been critical of the gig economy

Scott Olson/Getty ImagesSouth Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
  • Pete Buttigieg’s campaign hired gig workers using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a platform notorious for low pay.
  • The decision appears at odds with Buttigieg’s campaign message that gig workers deserve the protections and wages of full-time employees.
  • Mechanical Turk, or MTurk, lets employers set their price for specific tasks that gig workers can choose to take on, allowing payments as low as 1 cent per task.
  • Buttigieg’s campaign has said that it paid gig workers above the minimum wage for tasks that lasted 2-3 minutes.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign hired gig workers using Amazon Mechanical Turk, a platform that’s infamous for low pay, despite Buttigieg’s campaign promise to improve pay and protections for gig workers.

The campaign’s payments through Mechanical Turk, first reported by The Intercept, totaled more than $US20,000 throughout August and September for “polling” gigs, according to Federal Elections Commission records.

Mechanical Turk lets employers set a price for a task they want completed, as low as 1 cent per task, which contractors can choose to accept. A 2016 Pew Research survey of 3,000 Mechanical Turk workers found that more than half earn less than $US5 an hour on the platform.

Neither Amazon nor Buttigieg’s campaign immediately responded to Business Insider’s request for comment. A campaign spokesperson told The Intercept that it paid Mechanical Turk workers above the minimum wage for tasks that lasted 2-3 minutes, but did not specify the amount they were paid.

On the campaign trail, Buttigieg has vowed to improve working conditions for gig workers, arguing that they deserve the same protections and minimum wage standards as full-time employees.

“A lot of this is about getting around labour standards. A lot of this is about cost-saving,” he said in an interview with The New York Times editorial board published Thursday. “We need to … remove some of the magic between being an employee and being a contractor.”

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