The bill also ensures delivery workers have better working conditions and get the full amount of the tips they are paid.
A new bill passed by the New York City council guarantees bathroom access to food delivery workers in the city. The bill was aimed at providing minimum working standards including improve working conditions and better pay for those in app-based food delivery services including UberEats, Grubhub, and Doordash. Gig workers and delivery drivers have been banned by some restaurants from using their bathrooms in the past and this new bill changes that. They will have access to the bathrooms when they arrive to pick up food or beverages. The bill was passed by New York City council members is a historic first in America and could potentially inspire similar bills in other states across the country. The bill is the result of a movement sparked by a grassroots coalition of thousands of immigrant food delivery workers in the city — Los Deliveristas Unidos, reported Vice News. The bill was also supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The poor work conditions and pay for delivery workers became more apparent than ever during the pandemic as they risked themselves to deliver food, often braving tempestuous weather conditions. Not to mention the fear of being attacked and having their bikes stolen. Improving working conditions for delivery workers became a priority after Hurricane Ida hit the city and workers could be seen riding through flooded streets to deliver meals. Images of delivery workers being pushed to deliver in horrifying conditions sparked outrage. Restaurants have also been heavily dependent on delivery services to survive the pandemic. There are over 80,000 delivery workers, according to the city and most of them are immigrants, reported The New York Times.
It was Manhattan councilwoman Carlina Rivera who sponsored the bathroom bill. Rivera was outraged after overhearing a conversation that some workers couldn't use a restroom for hours, while some were being charged fees for using the restaurant bathrooms, reported The New York Times. There have been multiple reports of gig workers and delivery workers being forced to pee in bushes and bottles due to a lack of access to bathrooms. The bill also gives delivery workers the option of choosing not to deliver to places they are not comfortable traveling. The bill also prohibits food delivery apps and courier services from charging workers fees to receive their pay and they will also be mandated to show their gratuity policies. It also puts to end the practice of apps charging delivery workers for the food bags, which can cost up to $50. The bill also guarantees minimum pay for food delivery workers per trip also ensures workers get paid their tips in full.
"These are workers that have been disenfranchised for a long time. They come from historically marginalized and low-income areas of our city," said Rivera. "It took a national and global pandemic and waist-deep floodwaters to bring attention to their plight." City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called on other cities to implement similar measures as well. "These workers sacrificed their own safety during the pandemic to bring food to our homes. I'm proud of New York City and this Council for standing up for these workers, and I urge other major cities to protect this industry." Gustavo Ajche, a food delivery worker and member of Los Deliveristas Unidos said all the food delivery apps were just looking to make profits by exploiting people. "We all work with multiple apps. Each app operates differently but they are the same in that they all try to profit without offering protections to workers," said Ajche.
Delivery app Grubhub supported the bill. “These bills are common-sense steps to support the delivery workers who work hard every day for New York’s restaurants and residents,” said Grant Klinzman, a spokesman for Grubhub. “Ensuring they receive a living wage and have access to restrooms isn’t just a good idea, it’s the right thing to do.”