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App delivery workers in New York are underpaid, mistreated and often injured, according to a new report

A delivery man drives through Manhattan on December 2, 2020.

A delivery employee drives around Manhattan on December 2, 2020.
Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

New report examined hundreds of deliveries workers in New York and found that many had precarious wages, long hours of work, theft and costly injuries. Moreover, they often described harsh treatment from restaurant owners, customers, and even the apps they work with.

V reporttitled Indispensable But Insecure is the result of a collaboration between researchers from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and two local human rights organizations targeting immigrant workers: Los Deliveristas and Workers’ Justice Project… As part of the report, the authors interviewed 500 app delivery staff in New York City during the pandemic – a time when personal restrictions on lunch and travel led to a surge in delivery work. They also conducted interviews and focus groups.

The most common complaint from couriers was low wages. According to the report, the hourly wage of the average worker was about $ 12. But excluding tips, the average salary was only $ 7.87 an hour. Tips for who like with experience in catering knows, can fluctuate greatly from week to week, and to earn enough to live, many people reported working on multiple apps, while about two-thirds reported that he worked six days a week. In any case, $ 12 an hour is still below the $ 15 minimum wage the city set for employers at the end of 2019 (as with many other forms of work, app delivery workers are not considered actual employees in New York, but only independent contractors).

Even getting this meager salary was often a challenge for workers. The poll showed that 42% reported non-payment, underpayment and late payment of wages or tips, sometimes up to missing earnings for the entire week.

“This report confirms the stories of workers, stories that we have heard over the years,” said Hildaline Colon Hernandez, director of policy at the Workers Justice Project. said Town.

Childbirth instability manifests itself in other ways, too.

Many workers complained about for example, the algorithm used by applications to define a workflow. If an employee rejects too many requests or gets low customer ratings, they can lose their rating in the app, resulting in a degradation or reduction in the available time slots. And simple necessities like bathroom breaks often inaccessible to workers. 83% said that they were not allowed to use restaurant toilets for at least some time, while 53% reported that they sometimes managed to find an accessible public toilet, and 30% said they never found access to it.

In addition to these inconveniences, shipping may be dangerous… About half of all workers reported being injured at work, usually from bicycle or bicycle accidents, and three-quarters said they must pay all associated medical expenses. 54% said they were victims of bicycle theft, and 30% said they had been attacked during the theft. Researchers have dedicated report memory of couriers who died in 2020 and 2021, including one worker who was shot over his bike in March 2021.

Legislative measures are currently being taken to protect the rights of delivery workers in the city. But it’s unclear when any of the currently proposed rules, including fines for restaurants that refuse toilet access, non-tip protection, and a minimum fare standard for travel, will get a vote. Worker-led groups such as Los Deliveristas have claimed that much broader laws neededsuch as one that guarantees the employee status of the application delivery staff. Meanwhile, popular app delivery companies are currently in the middle litigate the city for continuing to use price caps that limit the fees they can impose on restaurants.

“The correct answer here is to be recognized as employees,” said The is the City. “This is a wonderful package of bills to make progress in the light of the current state of affairs. But honestly, federal or state law should say what everyone knows, which is that they are workers like everyone else. “

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