After months of mobilizations to improve their working conditions, thousands of New York City delivery workers denounce that digital ordering application companies such as DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber are sending disinformation messages, from their own platforms, to reduce and dilute the rules that would lead them to pay a legal minimum wage.
Until now, these workers who add up to 65,000 throughout the Big Apple, earn profit through tips.
“They are using tactics to shrink our organization, telling deliverists that if a minimum wage is passed, they will have less work because there will be fewer customers and also fewer tips. It must be clarified that the payment of a minimum wage is already law. And we are only reaching an agreement on how and how much,” he denounced. Ligia Guallpaspokesperson for Labor Justice Project.
The Local Law 115 of 2021 approved by the City Council requires the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) to study the working conditions of delivery drivers and promulgate rules that establish minimum payments for trips, before January 1, 2023.
Under the first draft, released by the City in October, the minimum wage would begin in $17.87 in 2023 and would increase to $23.82 on April 1, 2025.
But this proposal was flatly rejected by the movement that supports these workers grouped in “United Deliveristas”, who, in addition to a starting point of $20 dollars of minimum income per hour, demanded an additional fee of $5, to cover costs of security equipment such as their GPS services.
After weeks of negotiations, the new proposal for the delivery workforce would be paid $19.96 an hour by 2025, less than the $23.82 that DCWP previously proposed.
A new hourly rate of $17.96 would start this year and would increase over the next two years.
The change the city proposed was aimed at limiting overlapping payments when workers work for more than one application at a time, called “multi-application,” which according to one study accounted for 18% of worker time.
The possibility is also being considered that from the moment each deliverer accepts an order, they are paid 0.50 cents per minute, if the companies schedule a pay-per-trip scheme.
While the raise for drivers remains on hold, a new public hearing scheduled for to listen to the arguments of workers and companies was preceded by manifest concerns of this union, also backed by the Comptroller and the New York City Ombudsman.
There is certainty in this union that the City could be listening to arguments from corporations to reduce benefits to these essential workers.
After a long hearing held on Friday, an agreement was not reached either. Whereby the minimum wage for these workers is still in limbo.
“DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber are aggressively pushing to deny their workers a minimum wage and the The City must not capitulate to pressure from multi-billion dollar app companies.”said Comptroller Brad Lander.
Based on the mandates of the law, the drivers should have received increases before January 1 of this year.
“This delay seriously violates the law and, even worse, we are looking at a deceitful effort to bury a pay cut in regulatory doublespeak, all to cover corporate profits off the backs of the most excluded and essential workers. DCWP must ensure that workers are paid at least minimum wage, for every hour they work, including the time they spend waiting for their next delivery,” Lander demanded.
In the long comment stage, delivery app companies such as Uber and DoorDash claim that they are will be forced to raise prices, limit workers and their flexibility to choose their shifts.
“They try to divide us”
Deliverists also fear that the new wave of immigrants that arrived in New York and who find their only “lifeline” in this sector, do not understand the struggles that this union has had for years and give in to continue with the current conditions “out of desperation to win anything.”
They also assure that after the “scary campaign” promoted by the large corporations that own the ‘apps’, some of the members of the deliveristas association have deserted and have even testified that they fear that the salary increaseas it is proposed, may rather reduce the business.
For his part, Gustavo Ajche, co-founder of Los Deliveristas Unidos he believes that workers will continue to organize until they win “fair pay for our work.”
“There is no more time for delays or public hearings. The Adams administration must immediately enact the minimum wage that essential food delivery workers deserve,” said the activist, who stressed that the shipping platforms they are trying to divide and intrigue that workforce to evade compliance with the law.
City spokespersons told The Journal that DCWP is working to find a solution that meets the needs of all stakeholders. So much so that after the initial hearing, public comments were also taken into consideration.
In total, this agency received close to 2,000 comments on the initial proposal.
At press time no known reactions of spokespersons for these digital platforms on the accusations of “disinformation campaigns” directed at deliverists.
Although DoorDash, the fastest growing platform nationwide, submitted a public comment rejecting the city’s initial proposal, due to the issue of multiple applications.
In this sense, Sascha Owen, the company’s government relations manager for New York, stated that the salaries “will probably result in substantial new costs that will have to be passed on to consumers. And many New York City families will probably no longer be able to afford delivery services, as a result of increased costs.
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