More Delivery Wars

The Lempert Report
April 11, 2023

What we saw is last November, two years ago, November, all the delivery workers in New York got together. They were looking for higher wages. There's 65,000 delivery people in New York and that includes the five boroughs of New York, and they were talking about getting $24 an hour. Currently, according to the city of New York, including tips they make about $11 an hour. So this would more than double that, but it looks like there's a war going on now with the workers, within the workforce. So tell us what's going on there. 

Sally: Yes, it's a little bit complicated. Phil, there's an organization called Los Deliveristas Unidos, which has been fighting for these wage increases and worker conditions for a while now. And they are also under what's called the Workers' Justice Project. So we've got these great organizations that want fair working conditions and better pay for New York City delivery drivers. However, they're apparently as a segment of these drivers that are pushing back against the request for these wage increases. The reason being is they are afraid that they're going to be what's called gated. This is one of the reasons, and what gating is when there's not enough demand on the food delivery app, for all the workers that are trying to get on, then some workers will just get locked out of the app and not be able to work at that time. 

Sally: So they're really concerned about this. They're concerned about also the price going up for customers. So that will affect their tips and their ability to work. They are also concerned just about having to compete with other workers and also not being able to have the freedom to turn down a delivery. So, in other words, what comes with these higher wage conditions is that they also have to commit to accepting all deliveries that come through on their apps. So these are legitimate concerns. However, the other side says that these are not true concerns. These are not factual concerns that these are the ideas that are being marketed to them by the delivery companies that are anti-union. 

Phil: Yeah. And when we take a look at delivery, certainly if the price does go up, or their wages goes up, whether it's $19 is what they're talking about now, or $24 that will have an effect. On the price of food and food inflation has taken the prices up already. So I'm just wondering if, in fact, regardless of whether it's $19 an hour or $24 an hour, what happens is delivery ends this push for delivery now, there's always been bicycle delivery in New York City. Also, on every street corner there is a deli or there's a green grocer or a supermarket or something. So I'm just wondering if, in fact, the backlash to this is people are gonna walk a block and pick it up themselves instead of dealing with this whole delivery. 

Phil: The other part of this problem is what they had planned to do is take some rest areas on the Uupper West Side of New York and elsewhere, basically newsstands that have been abandoned since the pandemic. Turn those into recharge stations for the e-bikes, turn 'em into rest areas for it. And also, one of the biggest problems, one of the biggest complaints that these people have is a lot of the restaurants won't let them use their restrooms. So, you're working out of a restaurant, but they don't want you to go into their restrooms, so they're fighting that as well. So we're gonna watch this story, but I think delivery in New York is gonna change dramatically.