NYC Food Delivery Workers Ask City Council for Protection

Food delivery service workers across New York City are advocating for six bills before the New York City Council that will afford workers greater protections and better pay. 

“We expect the bills to come to a vote in August or September. We are currently making amendments to them and speaking to stakeholders about their impact,” said Hildalyn Colón Hernández, director of policy and strategic partnerships for Los Deliverista Unidos (LDU).

LDU is a nonprofit organization that represents food delivery service workers, many of whom are Latinx, immigrants, and people of color. SEIU Local 32BJ, the largest property service workers labor union in the U.S., is also advocating for the legislation package. 

Colón Hernández said the bills went through a hearing before the New York City Council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing on June 8, 2021. 

“On that day, our members made six loops around City Hall to draw the public’s attention to concerns. Issues include the apps requiring workers to pay a fee just to get paid their wages, tips on the app, and actual payments not matching up.[Also] punishments app makers install to discourage workers from rejecting harder jobs, and apps not allowing workers the ability to reject certain orders,” said Colón Hernández.

Colón Hernández said it is a concern that workers are expected to make deliveries at night without extra time or hazard pay.

“There are safety issues with crossing bridges at night. There are not as many patrols by law enforcement officers. Since it is dark, it is harder to spot obstacles and wet spots. When you have to go fast, that can result in problems,” said Colón Hernández.

Colón Hernández said one of the issues that the legislation does not address is that many existing bike paths are designed for leisurely travel. 

“For our members, bikes are a tool for work. Bike lanes should allow delivery workers to get between boroughs quickly and safely. We’re currently talking with the New York Police Department and the New York City Department of Transportation about how to change bike lanes to recognize the needs of workers,” said Colón Hernández.

Colón Hernández said food delivery workers are at the intersection of technology and the hospitality industry. However, she added both industries have not been transparent with workers about pay and working conditions. 

“There needs to be justice for our members. We are essential workers who have been working steadily through this pandemic. The time to pass these bills is now because the demand for food delivery remains extremely high. It is set to rise as workers return to corporate offices in Manhattan,” said Colon Hernández. 

Learn more about the bills at the website for the New York City Council. The bills are Int 2163-2020, Int 2288-2021, Int 2289-2021, Int 2294-2021, Int 2296-2021, Int 2298-2021, and Int 2311-2021.

For more New York City Technology news and culture, follow us on Instagram, Twitter @NYCWired and sign up for our Newsletter below.