Only a few days until the end of the legislative sessions in Albany, and a state bill that sought to allow food delivery men linked to applications could unionize, remained buried. Workers, politicians and union leaders denounced that the legislation harmed the fight so that the New York ‘deliveristas’ can finally be recognized as employees and fully enjoy their labor rights.
The bill, promoted by the state senator for Staten Island Diane savino, according to his livelihood, he sought to give power so that the distributors could join union unions and participate in certain negotiations, but kept their current category, where they are not recognized as employees, a fact that prevents them from fully claiming their labor rights.
The group The United Deliveristas, which has managed to organize thousands of delivery men of the 80,000 estimated to work in the Big Apple, not only celebrated that Sabino’s bill has been left in the pipeline, for go against their demands and the fight for the vindication of their rights, but they described it as a move to weaken their movement, which only tried to serve the interests of the large application companies.
In the words of that union, the project “Was born dead” and “will still be dead”Because it does not have any backing from the workers, the legislators, or the unions.
“It is a detrimental project for us, who did not have support to be approved, but the one who died sends a clear message of the power that as workers we have, making even the unions support us, recognizing that we already have a strong voice, and that the negotiations that are carried out on the deliveries have to get hold of us at the table and not behind our backs ”, he assured Gustavo Ajche, promoter of The United Deliveristas.
“It makes no sense for companies to try to hide their attempts with laws like these, when it is obvious that we are already very well organized at the grassroots and they will not be able to do things without us being able to take action,” he added.
“A clear threat to the work of the delivery men”
Ligia Guallpa, director of Labor Justice Project, explained that the stalled state bill was a clear threat to the work that the delivery men have achieved so far to promote initiatives that are already underway in the New York City Council, in defense of their rights, and that they intend to bring applications under control. What UberEats, DoorDash, PostMates, GrubHub, and SeamLess, among other.
“The United Deliveristas agreed that they oppose any legislation that deviates from the goal of improving their conditions and that it has been previously negotiated without their participation, like this one, that what it did was favor the companies, denying them the title of employees, something that would take away the power of the laws that can be established at the local level, ”said the activist.
The 32BJ SEIU Service Workers Union, like the Union of Transport Workers, They also expressed their opposition to Sabino’s project, which was to be presented this week in an attempt to push the session out.
The proponent of the initiative defended the promoted norm, ensuring that since the federal labor law does not allow workers who are not employees of a company to negotiate a union contract, this law would pave an alternative path, in which the State could establish rules to cover them.
But the delivery men denounced that the initiative would prevent workers from publicly protesting against apps or leaving their jobs, which is seen as a concession of rights that according to delivery workers as Hernán Fernández, I would seek to silence a fighting movement that is already well advanced.
“It is very dirty that a policy lends itself to wanting to move something that clearly goes against us and that seeks to benefit corporations that are trying to stop us from getting our rights, so from now on we have to be with our eyes wide open, looking deeply at any attempt at law that they want to move with a mask that suits us, but perpetuating injustices and abuses, “said the Colombian delivery man.
Another point of the criticized initiative it would prohibit local governments from creating minimum wages for workers or the app industry.
State senator Jessica Ramos, president of the Senate Labor CommitteeHe assured that initiatives like Sabino’s have no way of being supported, much less approved by his chamber.
“That bill is garbage. It is an attack on my neighbors and I will not support it, nor will I pass any bill in committee that undermines them, ”warned the Democrat from Queens, one of the main defenders of the delivery boy movement and its fight for their rights.
John samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union (TWU), part of the AFL-CIO, also rejected the bill, saying he is on the side of the workers.
“If they do not want this particular bill, we will support them and work with them to develop a bill that satisfies workers,” warned the union leader.