New York City Approves Legislation to Improve Conditions for Gig Economy Workers

DoorDash allows restaurants to choose commissions in post-pandemic world. Here, a DoorDash delivery man is seen in Manhattan.
STRF/STAR MAX/IPx 2021 via AP

New York City has become the first city in the U.S. to take steps to improve the working conditions of delivery drivers and other gig economy workers by approving a package of legislation mandating minimum pay and addressing many of the issues that workers for app-based delivery services like Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats regularly face.

The New York Times reports that New York City has become the first city in the U.S. to implements sweeping legislation to address issues faced by delivery workers. The legislation, supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), is part of the city’s efforts to regulate the multibillion-dollar food delivery industry.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 16: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a faith vigil for victims of an earthquake in Haiti at the steps of St. Jerome’s Roman Catholic Church on August 16, 2021 in the Little Caribbean neighborhood of Brooklyn borough in New York City. Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The number of delivery workers in NYC has reportedly risen to over 80,000 yet many workers face harsh working conditions and in many cases claim to be underpaid. The issue rose to prominence a few weeks ago as Hurricane Ida hit the city and photos of food delivery workers attempting to cross flooded streets caused outrage on social media.

A recent survey of 500 app food delivery workers by the Worker Institute at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Workers Justice Project found that 42 percent of delivery workers experience being underpaid or not paid at all.

An employee of Lieferando food delivery company stops at a traffic light at a roundabout as a DHL delivery van drives past in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district on April 15, 2020 amid the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by David GANNON / AFP)

Almost half reported that they had crashed while delivering food and 75 percent of those that crashed said that they were forced to use their own money to pay for medical care. 54 percent reported being robbed while 30 percent said that they were physically assaulted during the robbery.

Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, commented on the bill stating: “It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the large, multibillion-dollar corporations that are making a lot of money in New York City try to stop this. My hope is that other cities will actually take action and other cities will join New York City in providing protections for delivery workers.”

The legislation stops food delivery apps and courier services from charging workers fees to receive their pay, forces the apps to disclose their tipping policies, prevents the apps from charging delivery workers for insulated food bags, and requires restaurant owners to make bathrooms available to delivery workers.

The city council has voted to pass the bill, which now goes to Mayor Bill de Blasio to sign.

Read more at the New York Times here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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