Lawmakers in New York City are finally joining food delivery workers who’ve been pushing for fair standards of pay and working conditions. New York City officials will vote on a set of bills that could grant app-based food delivery workers overdue workplace protections, the first city in the country to do so. The vote is scheduled for Thursday, according to a report from the City, which refers to the slate of six bills as “landmark” legislation.
If the bills pass, they’d be the first to provide “minimum working standards” for delivery workers in the state of New York. They could then possibly establish precedence for other cities and states in the U.S. to follow suit. The keywords here are states and cities because the workers can clamor for fair standards, but it’s up to the local governments to back these workers with actual legislation.
These worker protections would help couriers who work for food delivery apps, such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub. The bills would grant the following benefits for delivery workers in NYC, from the City:
- Access to restaurant bathrooms
- Limits on delivery distances
- Minimum payments per trip
- Safeguards to ensure that tips reach delivery workers
These are all basic workplace protections, some of which have already been granted to Uber and Lyft drivers in New York. Getting those protections into place for the delivery drivers was hard enough, and supporters of the upcoming bills expect that the tech companies won’t go along easily. Well, except for one.
Grubhub has expressed support for the bills, as the City reported. The rest of the tech companies are unlikely to come aboard, and there are already multiple pending lawsuits against NYC that claim other attempts to regulate these companies is government overreach. One lawsuit claims the city’s cap on fees the tech firms can impose is unconstitutional, according to NPR.
I hope no one tries to argue that access to bathrooms is unconstitutional, but I won’t be surprised if it happens. Activists with Los Deliveristas Unidos (roughly translated, the United Deliverers) have been fighting for bathroom access and other basic workplace protections for well over a year now, and the City has covered their protests extensively. It’s very much worth a read.
It’s incredible what these delivery workers put up with, and how they are mistreated even by the same restaurants they are keeping afloat with their delivery services. These workers, many of whom are immigrants from Mexico or Central America, make less than the mandated minimum wage in NYC. They’ve delivered through the the pandemic, and even through Hurricane Ida! Access to the bathroom shouldn’t even be an issue here, but it is.