Victory! Grantees Win Living Wage for Food Delivery App Workers
After three years of public campaigning, Los Deliveristas Unidos—an organizing arm of our 2023 Spark Prize winner Worker's Justice Project (WJP)—are celebrating a huge legislative win for app-based delivery workers’ minimum pay rates. On June 11, 2023, the Mayor’s Office announced that all food delivery app workers will receive a minimum hourly wage of $17.96 starting July 12, 2023, which is projected to increase to $19.96 by April 2025. According to The City, this makes New York the first major U.S. city to establish and implement pay requirements for unsalaried delivery workers who are part of the gig economy.
Presently, app-based delivery workers—who are considered independent contractors and not salaried employees—earn around $11 an hour after tips, and aren’t reimbursed by companies like UberEats, DoorDash, and GrubHub for their operating costs, like the funds needed to buy insulated delivery bags.
“Today, we celebate,” Worker's Justice Project executive director Ligia Guallpa told The City. “Tomorrow we’re going to hit the streets, to organize workers, and to make sure that every worker in our city knows what their rights are.”
Worker's Justice Project is a worker-led nonprofit that advocates for better working conditions in New York City, especially for migrant workers whose precarious situations make it easier for employers to exploit their labor. Other landmark victories by WJP’s Los Deliveristas include securing the right for food delivery workers to use the bathroom while on the job.
As a recipient of our 2023 Spark Prize, WJP received a grant of $100,000 in unrestricted operating support, which they are using to grow their operations, including the renovation of a Williamsburg worker center for deliveristas.
Winning the 2023 Spark Prize was a huge point of hope for many WJP organizers. “A lot of the deliveristas were not surprised but were excited—‘Wow, it’s exciting to see our organization being recognized and know we are doing the right thing,’” Guallpa told The New York Times last January. “This is reaffirming our fight and acknowledges that we are building for the long term.”
Each year, the Spark Prize provides over $600,000 total to organizations with a strong track record of addressing critical challenges and opportunities in Brooklyn—applications for the 2024 Spark Prize are open until Wednesday, June 28th at 5pm. Learn more about the prize and the application process here.