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Landmark food app laws give New York delivery workers minimum pay and bathroom access

Landmark food app laws give New York delivery workers minimum pay and bathroom access
Legislation from City Council comes weeks after a viral video of Hurricane Ida flooding

Neither snow nor rain nor the flash flooding of Hurricane Ida keeps New York’s food delivery workers from the swift completion of their appointed pizza and shawarma rounds.

In return, the City Council is expected to pass a sweeping slate of legislation to improve the working conditions of the couriers contracted by food delivery apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub.

The new laws come three weeks after a viral video showed a bike rider, carrying a plastic bag, trudging through knee-deep floodwaters in Brooklyn. It has been viewed millions of times and led to a search, that still continues, for the rider speculated to be a food delivery worker for Grubhub.

While Grubhub found nothing indicating he was one of their couriers, the video nonetheless blew wind in the sails in the campaign of Los Deliveristas Unidos, an activist group of mostly immigrant delivery workers that had been demanding better pay and safer conditions.

The new laws will guarantee minimum per-trip payments, independent of tips. Payment would also be regulated, ensuring apps can’t charge workers fees to receive their tips and wages.

Workers will be allowed access to the bathrooms of restaurants they’re delivering from when picking up an order. Restaurants that refuse will be fined for every offence.

They’ll also be able to set their own delivery radius on how far they’ll travel, and decide whether they accept trips across bridges or tunnels.

The food delivery apps themselves generally support the City Council’s new laws for workers, though the three largest – Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats – have separately taken the City Council to federal court to oppose caps on fees they can charge to the restaurants.

“These bills are common-sense steps to support the delivery workers who work hard every day for New York’s restaurants and residents,” um porta-voz disse O Independent.

Ensuring they receive a living wage and have access to restrooms isn’t just a good idea – it’s the right thing to do.”

DoorDash was also broadly in favour of supporting delivery workers in ways that would not haveunintended consequences”.

“We recognize the unique challenges facing delivery workers in New York City and share the goal of identifying policies that will help Dashers and workers like them,” a spokesman said.

The new laws were expected to pass on Thursday after the outgoing mayor, Bill de Blasio, added his support to the measures this week.

“The exploitation of delivery drivers is unacceptable,” de Blasio spokesperson Bill Neidhardt 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.”