New York City on Thursday passed a series of bills protecting the rights of food service delivery people for companies like Doordash, Grubhub and Uber Eats. Worker advocates hope the new laws could trigger reforms in other cities and bring more attention to the debate around the poor conditions and wages that delivery workers face.
Gig service workers have been actively raising their voices for years about the indignities they endure at work, such as earning as little as $ 2 per delivery, traveling excessive distances and being denied access to restrooms in restaurants where they pick up customer orders. They also face navigating dangerous traffic, theft of their bikes and, in extreme cases, physical assault. But the increasing use of food delivery apps during the pandemic has led to a push for better terms from the industry.
Organizations such as Workers’ justice and Los Deliveristas Unidos were trained by workers to call for change, raise awareness by organizing rallies and on social media with hashtags like #NYCDeliveristas and #EssentialButUnprotected. They also wrote a report to shed light on the experiences of 65,000 application-based food workers in New York City.
Members of Los Deliveristas gathered at city hall for Thursday’s vote on the bills, taking to Twitter and Facebook to express their excitement. They also offered free bicycle repair services and homemade tacos to other couriers who showed up to offer their support. âWe hope this sends a message to fellow delivery people in New York and beyond: If you work with the heart, you get results,â one member said in an interview with The City.
Change may not be far away for concert workers in other parts of the country, either. In August, a California judge struck down controversial Proposition 22, which denied protection for delivery workers by classifying them as independent contractors. Meanwhile, the west coast-based rights advocacy group Gig Workers Rising recently showed up to Doordash CEO Tony Xu’s door, demanding a fair wage.
“These bills are common sense measures to support the delivery people who work hard every day for restaurants and New York residents,” Grubhub spokesman Grant Klinzman told Yahoo Finance. âMaking sure they get a living wage and have access to a toilet isn’t just a good idea, it’s the right thing to do. Yahoo Finance has also reached out to Doordash and Uber Eats for comment.
âThe basic business model of app-based food delivery companies is to deny and exclude their workers from the protections and benefits of employment,â lawyer Brian Chen told Yahoo Finance. Chen works for the National Employment Law Project, a long-standing nonprofit organization that advocates for workers’ rights. âAnd as food delivery skyrocketed during the pandemic, it was these workers – in tough, dangerous and underpaid jobs – who made the city run. These bills are an important victory for delivery people in New York City and hopefully will be a model for workers and lawmakers across the country. “