Food delivery workers, rideshare drivers demand more rights
NEW YORK (AP) - Having won rights to use restaurant restrooms and better transparency about tips, food delivery workers in New York City on Tuesday pressed for more protections - including better wages, health care and the right to unionize.
And to amplify those demands, groups representing about 100,000 rideshare drivers and food delivery workers announced the formation of a new coalition - Justice for App Workers - that would push for new measures that they say would “achieve dignity” for drivers and the city's fleet of delivery workers.
The vast majority of app workers in New York City are immigrants.
While most of the coalition’s members are based in New York City, it also represents members in parts of neighboring regions. The coalition hopes its advocacy will ripple into movements across the country.
“We are delivery workers or Uber drivers. We’re moving the city. ... They want good food, and we deliver it to their door,” said Ranjit Geuli, a member of the United Delivery Workers Association and a driver for Uber and Uber Eats for five years.
“We have no protection... Our jobs are unsecured,” said Geuli, an immigrant from Nepal, who called for a union at a rally near City Hall. “If we all come together, it will be a big voice.”
The coalition, which includes the NYC Rideshare Club, United Delivery Workers Association and seven other groups, said many of its members struggle to pay rent, keep up with car payments and provide for their families.
Immigrants like Peng Fei Zhang say they have little choice but to take delivery jobs because their poor command of English makes it more difficult to land other jobs.
Last month, the first of new protections went into effect in New York City, among them the right to use restrooms at restaurants for whom they are delivering food. The online firms that employ them must also reveal how much customers tip and must tell a workers how much they earned on a daily basis.
Until the new law, food delivery workers were at the mercy of restaurant owners who didn’t always grant them permission to use their facilities. Some resorted to carrying bottle to urinate in, said Dachuan Nie, the president of the International Alliance of Delivery Workers, who himself continues to deliver food to earn a living.
The coalition said it is focused on advocating for living wages, better safety, quality health care, reliable bathroom access, the right to form a union and protections against being unfairly blocked from receiving work.
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