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Food Delivery Workers Counting On New York City Council To Pass Package Of Bills Regulating Delivery Apps

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City food delivery workers, deemed essential in the pandemic, are demanding better working conditions, hoping City Council makes it happen.

Standing in solidarity, Los Deliveristas Unidos, a group of app-based delivery workers, are fighting for better working conditions.

"[Delivery workers] who literally kept every New Yorker safe and fed," said Ligia Guallpa, executive director of the Worker's Justice Project.

As CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reports, the Worker's Justice Project has been backing these workers, many immigrants, like Gustavo Ajche.

"We are essential, so we need the city to treat us like essential," he said.

They are hoping a package of bills discussed at a virtual City Council committee hearing Tuesday will regulate food delivery apps and deliver change.

"Imagine riding for 10 or 12 hours in today's heat only to take home five bucks an hour," New York City Council Member Brad Lander said.

Lander says his bill would change that by establishing minimum per trip payments to these workers, like the city did with Uber and Lyft.

"My bill in the City Council is gonna help delivery workers ensure they get paid on time and that there's no extra fee for a payment from the apps," New York City Council Member Carlos Menchaca said.

It's not just about money; these workers want humanity.

"One of the issues we have is the lack of access to the restrooms," one worker said in Spanish.

"Denied basic courtesy by the very same restaurants that are kept afloat by their labor," New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera said.

One bill requires restaurants provide workers bathroom access.

Another allows them to set the distance they're willing to travel to deliver and not have to bike from borough to borough.

"A lot of these big billion-dollar app companies treat these workers like trash, and we're not going to stand for that," New York City Council Member Justin Brannan said.

CBS reached out to several apps.

An Uber Eats spokesperson says it supports several of the proposed bills.

DoorDash sent a written testimony to the council committee meeting, Tuesday saying it supports several of these proposals, like providing restroom access. For some bills, it's offering support with amendments, like the proposal requiring companies provide insulated delivery bags. It raised concerns about Int 2311-2021, which would require the apps to share certain customer information with restaurants with whom that customer is placing a food or beverage order.

"We have significant concerns about any legislation that would endanger customer privacy," the testimony reads.

In a statement, a DoorDash spokeswoman wrote:

"DoorDash is constantly working to support Dashers and improve working conditions for all delivery workers, which is why last year we announced an industry-leading series of initiatives focused on strengthening safety, expanding restroom access, and protecting earnings. These include providing free and discounted road safety equipment, identifying restrooms in hundreds of restaurants that Dashers can use when picking up an order, and providing Dashers with resources to reduce their expenses. We are actively engaged with the Dasher community and eager to engage with policymakers on ways all stakeholders can better support New York City delivery workers."

Workers cycled six laps around City Hall, reflective of the six bills they're urging council to pass.

The council members CBS2 spoke to are confident these bills will pass through City Council and ultimately yield change for these essential workers.

These bills don't address the safety issues delivery workers have faced, like assault and bike theft, but workers and council members say they've been addressing this with the NYPD.

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