The worst hit during the first lockdown in 2020, delivery workers are now facing more problems in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. They earn low wages, stay outdoors during bad weather and live in fear of robbery the entire day. Here’s how New York’s bills are changing the scenario for delivery workers and what it means to them.
The food delivery system
New York has the largest food delivery market in the country. The number of workers has risen to at least 80,000 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of the delivery workers are immigrants, and their working conditions are, in turn, low-paid and laborious.
On September 23, 2021, New York City became the first city to pass a trailblazing package of legislation. The move aims to improve working conditions. It also seeks to set minimum pay delivery partners who work in Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash.
The legislation has the backing of Mayor Bill de Blasio. No other city in the United States has ever made efforts for gig workers of this multibillion-dollar industry.
What the bills mean for delivery workers
- The maximum distance per trip can be set by the driver.
- Food delivery apps are required to pay delivery workers at least once a week.
- Drivers are free to choose trips they are comfortable with and can avoid bridges or tunnels.
- Driver’s app must show pickup location, destination, estimated time and distance for the driver before a trip begins.
What the bills mean for delivery services
- Delivery services are not allowed to charge drivers for insulated bags.
- Apps are required to inform the amount paid to the delivery worker and the payment method.
- Delivery apps must notify and transfer gratuities to workers explain what happened if a customer removed the tip.
- Application forms must mention the total compensation and daily gratuities.
- All contracts must have a provision that permits workers to use restaurant bathrooms when picking up a delivery.
- The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection needs to study the food delivery industry. It must set minimum payment per trip rules.
What surveys say
According to a recent survey in New York City, the average hourly pay for delivery workers was just $12.21. This included tips. This is below New York City’s $15 minimum wage. Moreover, delivery workers usually pay for their transportation.
The survey also found out that 49% of the workers had met with an accident or theft while making a delivery. Nearly 75% of them paid for medical care with their money.
The sad reality is that many food delivery workers work for 12 hours a day during horrendous weather conditions. They work for multiple foodservice apps and still struggle to make ends meet.
A welcome relief
Furthermore, 13 delivery workers died in New York City when Hurricane Ida made landfall as most of them were delivering food during the flood.
Though DoorDash and Grubhub halted service in certain parts of the city, it didn’t stop the workers. Many gig workers didn’t want to miss bonuses and incentives even during a disaster by risking their lives.
In the light of all these issues, it seems like a welcome relief to see the city take the side of the people who are responsible for ensuring a majority of the population gets food on their tables.