The City Council on Thursday passed first-of-its-kind legislation in the country to help New York’s thousands of food-delivery workers, particularly those who work for third-party delivery apps. The measures establish minimum payments for workers per trip, require delivery services to provide workers with insulated bags, and would allow workers to access the restrooms in the restaurants they’re servicing. Also, apps would have to explain their tipping policies, and couriers would be able to set limits on the distances traveled for their trips.
Food-delivery workers, many of whom are immigrants from Central America, have advocated for many of the legislative changes that were passed by the City Council. The City reported that the measures stem from advocacy by Los Deliveristas Unidos, a labor group made up of the city’s delivery workers. The bill now moves to the desk of Mayor de Blasio, who is expected to sign it. A spokesperson previously told the City, “The exploitation of delivery drivers is unacceptable.”
New York reported on the arduous conditions that food-delivery workers face daily in this week’s cover story, problems that only seemed to have worsened during the pandemic. Between long routes and often making a base pay that is below minimum wage, couriers must also contend with the theft of their e-bikes, a crucial necessity for their work. This has forced delivery workers to come up with their own methods to protect and provide for themselves:
Workers developed the whole system — the bikes, repair networks, shelters, charging stations — because they had to. To the apps, they are independent contractors; to restaurants, they are emissaries of the apps; to customers, they represent the restaurants. In reality, the workers are on their own, often without even the minimum in government support. As contractors and, often, undocumented immigrants, they have few protections and virtually no safety net.