NYC Food Policy Center April 2023 Food Flash

by Emily Solomon

A roundup of food policy topics

What’s Hot: NYC Delivery Workers Continue Fight to Increase Pay

Last month,The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) lowered the minimum wage pay rate to $19.86 from $23.82. This change was made in an effort to limit overlapping payments through apps. As stated in the Gothamist, “The change was intended to limit overlapping payments when workers deliver for more than one app at a time, called “multi-apping,” which they said accounted for 18% of workers’ time according to their study”.

This decrease comes as a surprise because, in the beginning of the year, advocates were advocating for a $30 an hour pay raise. However, those lobbying for the increase have not been discouraged. City Comptroller Brad Lander said, “We are pleading with DCWP and City Hall, do not capitulate to corporate lobbying. Do not allow DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber to continue to profit by paying subminimum wages to their workers. It’s a violation of the law and it’s a violation of what’s right.”

It is still unclear at what level The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection and the protestors will come to an agreement, but Los Deliveristas Unidos and other unions throughout New York City continue to lobby for a change.

Food Policy Watchdog: SNAP Benefits at Risk for Suspension as House Debates National Debt Crisis

Last week, the Tri-Caucus Chairs, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-28), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04), and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chair Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), sent letters to President Biden pleading to preserve SNAP Benefits, which House Republicans have proposed a suspension in order to reduce the national debt. 

Those opposed to the suspension point out that SNAP Benefits is “the most effective federal program that lowers food insecurity and mitigates racial disparities in rates of food insecurity.” SNAP Benefits also generate income for small business owners by bringing in more customers and increasing the Gross Domestic Product by $1.50 billion during a weak economy.

Republicans propose initiating work requirements for those on SNAP rather than cutting funding for the entire program. Nonetheless, whatever decision is made in the House of Representatives will be faced with an uphill battle for passage  in the Senate.

Quote of the Month: 

“It’s pretty foreseeable that this is going to lead to more food hardship. It doesn’t do anything to improve people’s employability. … It’s just going to take food away from people that are unable to meet the documented requirements.”- Ellen Vollinger, SNAP director for the Food Research and Action Center on raising the age limit for people who rely on SNAP Benefits. 

Fact Check: New York’s Free Meals School Program Nears End of Deal

This month, Governor Kathy Hochul came close to reaching a  final  agreement on the  funding of universal school meals across the state.The original proposal called for at least $280 million in funding. Supporters have estimated that almost 800,000 students will benefit from this agreement, but It is still unclear how much money the State has agreed to  allocate to New York Public Schools. 

The proposal comes in response to the end of the pandemic universal aid program that helped provide free breakfast and lunch to children throughout New York State when schools were closed during the pandemic. When this ended, many families were not able to provide these meals at home. The State should arrive at a final decision by the beginning of May.

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