Food Delivery Workers Protest For Better Work Conditions

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Above photo: Los Deliveristas Unidos protest in Times Square. Claudia Irizarry Aponte/The City.

Thousands of food delivery workers rally for improved work conditions.

New York City – Deliveristas Unidos, a growing group of food delivery workers in New York City, is now working with the city’s largest union of service workers, representatives with SEIU Local 32BJ announced at a rally on Wednesday. The City first reported news of the partnership.

On Wednesday, a group of more than 2,000 food delivery workers biked from Times Square to Foley Square as part of a protest calling for improved work conditions. Their ongoing list of demands includes higher pay, increased bathroom access, and expansions to protected bike lanes. The workers also seek to be recognized as employees of the apps they work for since food delivery workers are technically classified as independent contractors, making them ineligible to join a traditional union. Local 32BJ is now backing those demands.

“We’re going to win together,” a union representative said at the rally, according to the City. Local 32BJ — NYC’s largest union of service workers and one of the groups responsible for passing the city’s historic $15 minimum wage increase in 2015 — has reportedly been working with Los Deliveristas Unidos for multiple months, providing organizers with legal assistance behind the scenes. That support is now public, which could prove crucial as food delivery workers continue to organize for higher pay and other job protections.

This isn’t the first protest from Los Deliveristas Unidos, an organization of mostly Guatemalan and Mexican food delivery workers that started during the pandemic, and it certainly won’t be the last. The group gathered in East Harlem last month, according to the City, after delivery worker Francisco Villalva Vitinio was shot and killed while working. Last fall, the group organized a series of bike protests, shutting down traffic in Manhattan to demand better treatment from tech companies and elected officials during the pandemic.