In September, a series of successful bills past through the City Council of New York, granting a variety of common sense provisions to the many delivery workers in the five boroughs. Well, the first tranche of the new laws went into effect this week, and crucially, they now grant post offices the right to use restaurant restrooms.
The lack of access to restrooms has been a major point of contention for this class of workers (no doubt you’ve seen reports of Amazon drivers urinating on bottles – something the company reportedly well aware of.) The situation has been no different in New York, and so access to the bathroom has become a rallying cry for The United Deliveristas, a group of messengers that has been pushing for change. What was a long uphill battle resulted in a legislative victory supported by progressive lawmakers in the states, and Local Law 117 — sponsored by District 2 Councilor Carlina Rivera — ensures that:
“Food delivery applications include a clause in contracts with restaurants requiring them to make their restrooms available for use by delivery people, as long as the delivery person seeks access to the facility while taking a food or beverage order for delivery.”
Why this was no longer the case is a total mystery. Keep in mind that while the pandemic has certainly highlighted postal working conditions, Seamless was launched in New York City in 1999 and has been leveraging its own fleet of temp workers ever since. around 2014. A law dealing with the discrepancy between “working everywhere” and “being allowed to use the bathroom almost nowhere” took so long to address.
Free use of restrooms is not the only change in the quality of life for temporary workers. two other laws that became enforceable yesterday provide greater salary transparency. The former requires informing couriers how much each customer has tipped on an order, while the latter requires information related to the previous day’s total payment and total tipping to be shared with the courier. These may also seem like small, perhaps even obvious, features that are expected to be already available in these apps. But, again, this has been a long-standing problem for temporary workers; Both Amazon Flex and DoorDash were forced to pay heavy damages for using tip money to subsidize contractors’ salaries.
Additional provisions for couriers will take effect towards the end of April, requiring companies to provide insulated bags, routing instructions for accepting an order and paying workers at least once a week. Another law will also allow couriers to set the maximum distance they wish to travel and give them the freedom to avoid crossing bridges or tunnels that can sometimes be dangerous. Finally, on January 1st, applications will be required to pay a yet-to-be-determined minimum fee to the post office, similar to how the city established a salary floor for hitchhikers in 2018.
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