New York City Council Passes Bill Addressing Exploitation of Food Delivery Workers

The city is the first in the nation to address the brutal working conditions of food delivery workers.

Not that delivering food was ever easy, but the COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how vital these workers are to the restaurant industry and their customers—and just how many challenges they face. Now, New York City is further demonstrating how "essential" these delivery workers are by passing a set of bills to guarantee them additional employment rights.

"New York will now be the first city in the country to make sure delivery workers are not exploited—to make sure people are treated with dignity and respect, that they get their wages, and that they are not exploited by these multibillion dollar corporations," City Council speaker Corey Johnson said in a news conference after the bills were passed yesterday, according to The Guardian.

A food delivery person with a thermal backpack riding a bike on the street
Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

Under the new rules, delivery workers will see their minimum payments per trip increase, tipping policies will have to be more transparent for both workers and customers, and platforms will have to offer pay (without a fee) at least once per week. Workers will also be allowed to determine their delivery zones, and the companies they work for will have to provide an insulated bag for carrying food. Finally, in probably the most publicized part of the bills, restaurants will be required to let delivery workers use their bathrooms when picking up orders—hopefully ending the ongoing issue of a lack of public restrooms for those handling deliveries.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has indicated he plans to sign the new legislation. "The exploitation of delivery drivers is unacceptable," Bill Neidhardt, a spokesperson for the mayor, told The City. "City Hall wholeheartedly supports these bills to protect delivery workers and deeply appreciates the grassroots organizing of Los Deliveristas Unidos to make this possible."

New York City has been at the forefront of challenging and curtailing what it believes to be unfair practices by the major restaurant delivery platforms such as DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats. As a result, these companies have been actively fighting the city in court. However, Grubhub has given their blessing to these new rules. In a statement provided to the New York Post, the company said, "These bills are common sense steps to support the delivery workers who work hard every day for New York's restaurants and residents."

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