NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s thousands of food delivery workers will get places to recharge electric bike batteries, cellphones and themselves, under a city plan announced Monday to turn abandoned newsstands and other unused structures into facilities for the “deliveristas.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mayor Eric Adams called the “hubs” a national first. It’s not yet clear how many will be built or exactly where and when; officials say they’re working to identify suitable locations on city property.
During the coronavirus pandemic, ordering-in surged in New York and nationwide. So did activism by the mostly immigrant New York workers, who formed an advocacy group called Los Deliveristas Unidos and began holding rallies to draw attention to the demands, dangers and indignities of a job in which they had been deemed essential workers but sometimes weren’t allowed to use the restrooms at the eateries where they picked up orders.
“Essential workers need the essential tools to do their jobs,” Adams, a Democrat, said at a news conference Monday outside one of the shuttered newsstands that could become a venue for the recharging hubs.
The hubs are to offer charging stations and a safe place to rest or take shelter from bad weather. (As for restrooms, a city law that took effect in January guarantees delivery workers the right to use restaurants’ facilities when collecting orders.)
Schumer said he’s optimistic about securing $1 million in federal money for the hub project.
Los Deliveristas Unidos is consulting with the city on the facilities as the group works to “transform the app delivery industry into a profession that deserves living wages, safe working conditions and now a new, worker-led deliverista infrastructure,” Executive Director Ligia Guallpa said.
The city estimates there are 65,000 delivery workers.