New York's city council passed six bills on Sept. 23 that established new rights and protections for all delivery workers in the city.
New York City is the first major city to address the intense and unfair working conditions linked with food delivery.
New York Backs Up Delivery Drivers
Mayor DeBlasio of New York has expressed his support for the provisions, and he is expected to sign the bills into law in the coming days.
The passage of the six bills was first reported by a local non-profit newsroom, The City.
The Verge released an article about the intense conditions that delivery drivers from Grubhub and Uber Eats face on the road. The most common issue is wage theft, followed by physical assault and fluctuating of their pay.
Since it's considered a gig and not a full-time job, there is little protection against injuries sustained while working or shortfalls of their earnings.
The passed measures do not address all the dangers faced by the delivery workers, but they establish long-sought protections.
One measure requires restaurants to let the delivery workers use their bathrooms. Bars and restaurants that refuse to do so will be fined.
Another measure will establish a minimum payment for drivers per trip, similar to the protections for Uber and Lyft drivers.
Other measures would block apps from charging extra fees to deliver tips to the drivers as it is a form of wage theft. It will also institute limits on how far a driver can be asked by a customer to travel for delivery.
The bills result from the organization done by Los Deliveristas Unidos, a group that organizes delivery workers for the Worker's Justice Project.
The group gathered at City Hall in April, and they have been pushing Mayor DeBlasio and the city council since then to take action on these issues.
Suing New York
Earlier this month, the three largest food delivery companies in the United States sued New York City over a limit on fees that it had put in place during the pandemic.
The said fees are to protect restaurants that were affected by the situation since the pandemic forced them to close their dining areas, making it difficult for Uber Eats and Grubhub to charge the businesses.
The city has extended the caps even as vaccinations made it possible to do indoor dining again. The limit imposed by the city caused the food delivery companies millions of dollars in 2020.
In the lawsuit filed on Sept.8, Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats call the fee caps an "overreach." The food delivery companies said that they were "instrumental in keeping restaurants afloat and the workers employed" after they've invested millions of dollars in relief for those businesses.
The companies filed for an injunction to prevent New York from enforcing an extension on the fee caps. They are also seeking monetary damages.
Nicholas Paolucci, the spokesman for the New York Law Department, said that the city's initiative is legally sound, and the city will defend it in court.
New York City launched the price cap in May 2020 while the city was in lockdown due to the pandemic. It limited the rate that food delivery companies could charge restaurants to 15% for online orders and 5% for other services.
In August, the council passed several bills to help small restaurants, like prohibiting third-party delivery service charges and mandating their phone numbers listed on the delivery sites.
The council also pushed for an extension on the fee caps until early 2022, according to NPR.
Food delivery companies that experienced growth during the pandemic's peak are clashing with local governments who are siding with bars and restaurants because they are hit with high fees and costs.
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Written by Sophie Webster