New York City Adopts Legislation to Protect Food Delivery Workers
The New York City Council passed a cluster of bills on Thursday that codifies protections for the Big Apple’s nearly 80,000 food delivery workers, who frequently face dangerous working conditions and are forced to engage in battles for proper compensation as contractors for apps like GrubHub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
“The legislation prevents the food delivery apps and courier services from charging workers fees to receive their pay; makes the apps disclose their gratuity policies; prohibits the apps from charging delivery workers for insulated food bags, which can cost up to $50; and requires restaurant owners to make bathrooms available to delivery workers,” according to The New York Times. “Under the legislation, delivery workers would also be able to set parameters on the trips they take without fear of retribution. Workers — who have been targeted by robbers intent on stealing their money or their e-bikes — would be able to determine the maximum distance they want to travel from a restaurant or specify that they are not willing to go over bridges to make a delivery, for example.”
Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio has thrown his own support behind the new “first in the nation” regulations.
The challenges and risks that await food couriers – who are simply trying to make ends meet in a grueling economy – are numerous.
“A survey of 500 app-based food delivery workers by the Worker Institute at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations found that 42 percent of workers had experienced being underpaid or not paid at all. Nearly half said they had gotten into accidents while delivering food and 75 percent of that group said they used their own money to pay for their medical care. Fifty-four percent reported being robbed while making deliveries and 30 percent said they were assaulted during the robberies,” the Times pointed out.
Democratic City Council Speaker Cory Johnson defended the measures and highlighted the plights that these hard-working New Yorkers experience every single day.
“These workers sacrificed their own safety during the pandemic to bring food to our homes, yet in some cases, they were denied bathroom access at restaurants and charged fees by third-party apps,” he said in a statement as reported by the Times. “I’m proud of New York City and this Council for standing up for these workers, and I urge other major cities to protect this industry.”