Food delivery workers slam ‘greedy apps’ over tips, safety during heated City Council hearing

Food delivery drivers on Friday admitted low tips and a lack of transparency from “greedy apps” has pushed them to make reckless decisions on Big Apple roads during a heated City Council hearing on Friday.

“We need protection against these greedy apps that care more about their profits than our safety,” Doordash deliveryman Antonio Solis told the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protections.

Solis’ testimony came as representatives from Doordash, UberEats and Grubhub were grilled at City Hall during the three-hour hearing.

Grubhub, Doordash and UberEats were on the hot seat at a City Council hearing weighing seven proposed laws regulating the delivery business. Getty Images

The committee introduced seven bills that focused on delivery safety and payment, specifically addressing issues with gratuity and paycheck breakdowns for employees.

Doordash and UberEats changed when they prompt customers to leave a tip after last year’s minimum wage laws for delivery workers were nearly tripled. Customers are given the option to leave a tip after they place their order — a move that has cost delivery workers $85 million in lost gratuities, City Council member Shaun Abreu said.

He proposed legislation that would force the apps to move the prompt back to when the order is placed.

Abreu also took aim at how the apps disclose information about their pay rates, which changed after the minimum wage law went into effect April 1.

NYC City Council member Shaun Abreu scolded the delivery app companies for their lack of “transparency” in how they pay their workers. Getty Images

“We want to know how people’s pay is being calculated,” Abreu said. “The fact that we are fighting these apps on this is insane.”

Fellow Council member Oswald Feliz, meanwhile, introduced a proposal that would require delivery companies to provide free bikes to workers and ensure that the bikes meet safety standards. 

“Last year we had 97 fires due to e-bikes,” Feliz said.

“It’s not acceptable that [the big companies] look away and wait for someone else to resolve the issue.”

If passed, it would make New York the only city to implement a law requiring that apps provide bikes.

NYC City Council member Oswald Feliz wants the delivery app companies to provide free bikes to their workers and to ensure that the bikes meet safety standards. Getty Images

Another bill would require that the app companies ensure that mopeds are registered.

A GrubHub representative pushed back on the proposal. 

“We are not the DMV or DOT and can’t enforce [that a moped] is properly registered and licensed,” the rep countered.

The new minimum wage law allows the app companies to pay a flat $29.93 per hour rate, paying drivers only for the time it takes to complete a trip rather than covering their idle time or to pay a set $17.96 an hour minimum wage. 

The delivery companies had fought the minimum wage law, calling the new pay rates “extreme.”

Doordash has promised to eliminate tipping entirely if the proposals are enacted, the company said an email. 

The email, which was entered into the public record, states that consumers have already pulled back because of their higher delivery costs.

Doordash told its workers this week if the proposed laws pass that it will eliminate the tipping option from its app, according to emails that entered into the public record. AP

“We estimate that there have been more than 850,000 missed earnings opportunities for Dashers like you,” the email states.

Abreu called the threat “retaliatory.”

A spokesperson for Uber Eats told The Post that customers have left $25 million in tips this year.

“Instead of attempting to over-regulate one piece of the industry, the Council should focus on better pay and protections for the thousands of delivery workers who have no minimum wage, or a tipped minimum wage,” the rep said.

The app companies did back a proposed bill that would loosen a fee cap implemented during the pandemic to help struggling restaurants.

New York is the only city that has not reversed pandemic restrictions on how much the delivery companies can charge restaurants, experts testified.

The companies are also suing the Big Apple over the fee cap and a judge recently declined to dismiss the lawsuit, which City Council member Rafael Salamanca suggested could cost the city $1 billion in damages if it loses the case.

Carlos Ortiz, senior advisor for the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, declined to comment on the $1 billion figure, citing the active litigation.

UberEats testified along with reps from Grubhub and Doordash at a sometimes contentious City Council hearing. In Pictures via Getty Images

Salamanca introduced a proposal that loosens the fee cap, allowing the app companies to charge restaurants up to 25% for marketing fees from the current 5% cap on marketing.

“Grubhub applauds the Council and amendment sponsors for working to find a reasonable path forward that would finally fix pandemic-era restrictions on restaurant marketing,” a Grubhub spokesperson said in an email.

The NYS Latino Restaurant Association, among other groups support the change to the rule, while the NYC Hospitality Alliance derided the proposal as the “Bigger Fees for Big Delivery Bill.”

“The City Council should not further entertain changing this fee cap law while Doordash, Grubhub and Uber are suing the city of New York to overturn this same fee cap law,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the Alliance said.

Rigie was recently subpoenaed by the app companies in their lawsuit against the city.

The companies want him to turn over communications the Alliance has had over the years with journalists, its restaurant members and privileged discussions with its lawyer, Rigie recently disclosed in an AM New York Op Ed.

“They know we’re a small non-profit organization with limited resources and time,” Rigie writes. They know that fighting these subpoenas could destroy our ability to advocate.”

The delivery companies did not respond for comment on the subpoena.

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