Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series
Name: Los Deliveristas Unidos
What they do: Starting in early 2020, the Workers Justice Project began organizing food delivery workers who work through apps such as GrubHub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and others. This collective became Los Deliveristas Unidos (LDU), a group working toward giving app delivery workers access to basic labor rights. With more than 65,000 app delivery workers in New York City, this is a large cohort that needs protection.
App delivery workers are part of the gig economy, those who provide on-demand services and generally are treated as independent contractors or freelancers. Since gig workers are usually not considered traditional employees, they do not have access to all the same labor rights as employees. This results in lower pay, health and safety issues, and lack of access to benefits such as health insurance.
How they do it: The Workers Justice Project began organizing app delivery workers in the early months of the pandemic, and continues to advocate for this vulnerable group. Los Deliveristas Unidos also provides them with resources to help them succeed, including bicycle maintenance, leadership training, and PPE supplies.
Latest project/campaign: After more than a year of activism on the part of the Workers Justice Project, the New York City Council passed a set of bills to improve rights for app delivery workers in September 2021. These bills cover six major shortcomings of the previous policies:
- Delivery workers are allowed to use restaurant bathrooms when picking up an order.
- Minimum per-trip payments are established to ensure sufficient pay for delivery workers.
- Apps that solicit tips for delivery workers will have to disclose to customers and workers exactly how much of the money will go to the delivery worker, the restaurant, and the app itself.
- Payment schedules will be regulated, including requiring that workers be paid at least once per week.
- Delivery companies must provide workers with insulated bags.
- Workers will be allowed to restrict their delivery areas, including setting a maximum distance they will travel and whether they will travel over bridges or through tunnels.
LDU has also fought for a minimum wage of $23.82 per hour for app delivery workers, along with pay for “on-call time” (time workers spend waiting for an order to come in). This minimum wage is scheduled to go into effect by 2025.
LDU also spearheaded a campaign to bring “Deliveristas Hubs” to the city. This program will use existing City infrastructure, such as vacant newsstands, to provide locations for app delivery workers to rest, seek shelter from difficult weather conditions, and recharge their e-bikes and cell phones.
Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect the food system: In spring 2021, LDU gained the support of the powerful labor union 32BJ SEIU, the same union that helped reach a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers in 2015.
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn & Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Core Programs: Organizing for policy change, providing resources such as PPE and bicycle repair, educational workshops/training.
Areas served: NYC-wide
Year Started: 2020
Director: Ligia Guallpa, Executive Director of the Workers Justice Project
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delivery Workers Cheer $23.82 Proposed Minimum Pay Standards, But Not Everyone’s Happy (The City)
- Inside the Fight to Pay Food Delivery Workers $23 an Hour (New York Times)
- Service Workers Left in the Lurch as Americans Cut Back on Tipping (The Guardian)
- “We Must Demand Dignity” “Debemos Exigir Dignidad” (Manhattan Times)
- Los Deliveristas Unidos Takes On the App-Delivery Industry (The Village Voice)
- Mayor Adams, Majority Leader Schumer Announce First-in-Nation Street Deliveristas Hubs to Serve NYC’s Food Delivery Workers (NYC.gov)
- Los Deliveristas Unidos: Organizing Against a ‘Ghost Boss’ (People’s World)
- Los Deliveristas Unidos: Essential Workers of NYC Delivery (Curbed)
- Delivery Workers, Advocates Celebrate in Times Square New Labor Rights Taking Effect Monday (amNY)
- The Next Frontier of Labor Organizing: Food-Delivery Workers (Civil Eats)
- NYC’s Delivery Drivers Depend on E-bikes, but Charging and Storing Them Isn’t Easy (Marketplace)
- Thousands of NYC Food Delivery Workers Protest for Better Work Conditions (Eater NY)
- The Deliveristas’ Long Journey to Justice (The City)