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New York City Council Votes In Favor Of Food Delivery Worker Protections

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- For years, delivery couriers have been calling for improved working conditions. On Thursday, the City Council voted in favor of beginning to regulate the industry.

It was a momentous day for delivery workers like Gustavo Ajche.

"This is a really, really great step and good step in our fight," Ajche told reporters, including CBS2's Natalie Duddridge.

He said it had been tough to make ends meet as a courier, adding he gets paid per delivery, not per hour.

"Sometimes you have to be in the street for 12, 13 hours, and sometimes you don't make that much money -- $50, $40 all day," Ajche said.

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Couriers say on top of that they face bad weather. During the remnants of Hurricane Ida, New Yorkers saw images of delivery workers struggling through flood water on their bikes, clutching packages.

"When it starts to rain and it's cold and they give you a lot of packages to deliver, and then you get there and people are like… no tip?" Uber delivery worker Carl Speller said.

The labor organization Los Deliveristas Unidos has been fighting to make app-based delivery companies more transparent to ensure tips actually get to workers. It has also pushed to set minimum pay, cap the distance couriers travel, and make sure they have bathroom access.

"That has been a situation we've been confronting since the pandemic. A lot of restaurants will not allow them to use the bathroom," director Hildalyn Colon Hernandez said.

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The group's activism sparked city lawmakers to create a package of six bills outlining basic working standards.

"Most of the city's delivery workers are immigrants and many are undocumented. This means that many miss out on stimulus checks and other forms of government assistance," Councilmember Dana Ayala said.

The bills passed on Thursday afternoon.

"New York City will now be the first city in the United States of America to protect delivery workers," Council Speaker Cory Johnson said.

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CBS2 reached out to app-based delivery companies like Grubhub. It said, "It's the right thing to do."

While DoorDash said its workers in Manhattan earn on average $33 per hour. The company expressed concern that the bill, which allows couriers to set travel parameters, could negatively impact those in underserved neighborhoods.

"We have more to do, but thank you so much," Ajche said.

For these workers, though, it's a major breakthrough.

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