New York City’s attempt to establish a minimum wage mandate for app-based delivery workers has prevailed in court, as Uber, DoorDash, and GrubHub lost their legal challenge on Thursday. Acting state Supreme Court Justice Nicholas Moyne ruled against the companies, clearing the way for the implementation of the minimum pay rate, which is set to gradually increase to $19.96 per hour for approximately 65,000 of the city’s delivery workers.
Advocates for workers’ rights celebrated the decision. Ligia Guallpa, the director of the New York-based Workers Justice Project, stated, “Multi-billion dollar companies cannot profit off the backs of immigrant workers while paying them pennies in New York City and get away with it.” She added, “The judge’s ruling is another reminder that workers will always win.”
However, the delivery giants expressed concerns about the mandate’s impact on their operations and workers. Uber spokesman Josh Gold argued that the law would harm couriers, stating, “This law will put thousands of New Yorkers out of work and force the remaining couriers to compete against each other to deliver orders faster.”
Grubhub issued a statement expressing disappointment and said they were evaluating their next legal steps. They claimed that the mandate would have adverse consequences for delivery partners, consumers, and independent businesses.
In contrast, DoorDash did not provide a comment in response to the ruling. However, back in June, the company criticized the city’s decision to raise the minimum wage, calling it “deeply misguided” and warning that it would negatively affect delivery workers and local restaurants.
Notably, Relay, a smaller platform that also sued the city but operates as a courier service for restaurants, was granted an injunction.
The legal battle began when the three major app-based delivery companies challenged the higher wage mandate, arguing that it would lead to price hikes for consumers and adversely impact delivery workers’ earnings by forcing the companies to track time spent on the apps without making deliveries.
Before this mandate, app-based delivery workers in the city primarily relied on tips and earned an average of $7.09 per hour. As independent contractors, they were not entitled to labor protections or minimum wage requirements. The mandate, established in June, initiated a minimum pay rate of $17.96 per hour, set to rise to $19.96 by April 2025.
The ruling marks a significant step in expanding protections and guaranteeing fair wages for gig workers, according to Guallpa.