Advocates for Grubhub, Uber and DoorDash workers estimate $15 million a week in lost pay as city law gets appealed.

Claudia Irizarry Aponte, The City

This article was originally published on Oct 5 3:48pm EDT by THE CITY

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GrubHub, Uber and DoorDash have secured a second pause on a new minimum wage for New York City food delivery workers — a delay that is costing drivers about $15 million a week, according to lawyers who’ve asked a state appeals court to let the law roll ahead.

Last week a state appellate judge issued an interim stay after the three food delivery app platforms appealed a court decision upholding the local law that mandates a pay minimum that is supposed to start at $17.96 an hour — the first delivery minimum wage in the nation. 

Workers fired back Thursday, filing an amicus brief in support of the law. Workers Justice Project attorney Hanan Kolko alleges delivery cyclists and drivers lost $180 million in wages in the 12 weeks between July 12 — the date the law was supposed to go into effect — and Oct. 1.

“We strongly believe workers deserve a minimum pay and deserve to live with dignity,” said Workers Justice Project executive director Ligia Guallpa. “These are wages that workers already won, and that they already earned through their hard work on behalf of these companies – and that they are being denied.” 

The pay standard is mandated by a 2021 law that increases pay annually starting this year, reaching $19.96 before tips by April 2025. The new minimum wage takes into account delivery workers’ costs of operating, from transportation equipment to insurance. App-based delivery workers currently earn an average of $11 hourly, according to estimates from the city.

Moyne upheld the law in a Sep. 28 decision, ruling that the three app companies were unlikely to suffer irreparable harm as a result of the wage boost — but granted a stay to a fourth company that sued, Relay, because it works directly with restaurants and pays workers by the hour. That differential treatment is the foundation of the companies’ appeal.

Moyne’s Sep. 28 decision “violated bedrock principles of administrative law by granting a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the challenged rule as to one and only one industry actor, while denying that relief to others,” said the companies in their appeal

The city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection condemned the companies for continuing to battle the pay program it oversees.

“We are disappointed that Uber, DoorDash, and Grubhub continue to seek to delay the Minimum Pay Rate for app-based restaurant delivery workers,” agency spokesperson Michael Lanza said in a statement. “We will continue to fight for delivery workers’ right to earn fair pay and look forward to a quick decision.”

Grubhub spokesperson Patrick Burke said the company is “pleased with the appellate court’s decision to grant a stay while we request an appeal.” Spokespersons for Uber and DoorDash declined to comment.

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