You are reading

Delivery Workers Spark Schumer-Adams Project to Convert Newsstands to Rest Stops

Mayor Eric Adams speaking outside City Hall with Deliveristas and Sen. Charles Schumer in front of a vacant newsstand. Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Logo for THE CITY

This article was originally published by The CITY on Oct. 3

Food delivery workers will soon have rest stops to call their own — including charging stations in what are now vacant newsstands, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday in City Hall Park next to one of the planned oases.

Their team-up is a change of direction, after former Mayor Bill de Blasio floated his own competing proposal for a worker center last year after Schumer pledged he’d deliver support for the food drivers.

The Senate majority leader and the mayor vowed to convert a handful of unused city-owned newsstands into respite stops for the city’s estimated 65,000 app-based food delivery workers, who pedal for companies such as DoorDash and Grubhub, bringing together worker advocates and the city parks department to get the project rolling.

To build the stations, Schumer is allocating $1 million in earmarked funds, in addition to money from the federal infrastructure bill, to the Worker’s Justice Project — which organizes the drivers’ group Los Deliveristas Unidos.

Workers will be able to use the sites to charge their e-bikes and the phones they use to receive and track orders from the apps. They will also be able to repair their bikes there and take shelter from the heat or cold.

“It’s a game changer,” said Schumer, who first announced his commitment to help fund the idea during a ride-along meeting with Los Deliveristas Unidos last October — calling the new hub “the first infrastructure of its kind for app-based delivery workers in the whole nation.”

The concept originated with one of the workers behind Los Deliveristas Unidos. Downtown delivery worker Sergio Ajche, of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, said the idea occurred to him about two years ago, during the darkest days of the pandemic, when delivery was in high demand and rest spots were scarce.

“I saw this one and thought, it would be great to just get a cup of coffee,” he said in Spanish, pointing to the vacant City Hall Park newsstand.

“Then we started to talk about it some more amongst ourselves, and the idea for charging ports emerged, and how powerful it would be for us to have a presence all over the city. The idea took off from there.”

He added: “I’m proud that we were taken seriously, and that now we’re starting to see the results.”

Deliverista Sergio Ajche speaks near a vacant newsstand outside City Hall.Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Said the mayor: “These are essential services. We saw that and we’re going to continue to make sure they have the infrastructure to carry out what they need to perform their duties.”

Changed Order
The collaboration between Schumer and Adams signals a turn for City Hall: Former Mayor Bill de Blasio in his final weeks in office planned but never announced a proposed delivery worker hub in collaboration with New Immigrant Community Empowerment, a Jackson Heights-based workers’ center, according to a draft, never-released press advisory obtained by THE CITY.

The debut of the first Schumer-Adams hub is still months if not a year away.

The $1 million Schumer allocated for the Worker’s Justice Project to develop the idea is still pending approval in the omnibus spending package in the Senate, which is expected to pass in December.

Ligia Guallpa, executive director of the Worker’s Justice Project, said “there is a lot of potential to create Deliverista hubs in every corner of the city where there is high demand for delivery work,” including the Lower East Side, the West Village and the Upper West Side.

Some of the funds announced by Schumer on Monday will also go towards renovating the headquarters of Worker’s Justice Project in Williamsburg.

“As majority leader, when I put something like this in, the chances of it being approved is like 98%. So we’re gonna pay a million dollars to help get these done. There’s nothing I love more than bringing dollars home to New York,” Schumer said. “But this one’s particularly sweet.”

A sticker showing a Deliverista raising his fist in the air adorns the battery of an e-bike.Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Adams and Parks & Recreation Dept. Commissioner Sue Donoghue declined to say how many hubs could eventually be created.

“We will let you know,” Adams said. Also unknown is whether the hubs will require staffing.

The delivery worker centers had become a signature demand for delivery workers, who last year won a landmark slate of protections approved by City Council, including minimum pay standards and a right to use restaurant restrooms.

They began organizing at the onset of the pandemic two years ago, coalescing around issues that included street safety, bathroom access and lack of transparency of the companies’ pay structures — and a lack of safe, public spaces where they could rest and charge their vehicles.

They held their first protest two years ago, cycling from Verdi Square on 72nd Street to City Hall Park — steps away from the newsstand where Monday’s announcement took place.

“Those of us who are working out on the streets every day, we know what our needs are,” Ajche said in Spanish. “So to see this move from conversations amongst ourselves into real action, feels good.”

THE CITY is an independent, nonprofit news outlet dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Queens Botanical Garden hosts Lunar New Year celebration with globally beloved Miffy

About 4,200 people joined the world-renowned beloved rabbit Miffy to ring in the Year of the Rabbit at Queens Botanical Garden’s Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday, Jan. 28. 

Queens Botanical Garden’s Lunar New Year celebration included a visit from Councilman Shekar Krishnan, who gave remarks, followed by a program of activities for all ages. Attendees enjoyed a lion dance performance, zodiac crafts, demonstrations, lucky plant sales and more. Miffy was in attendance for photos, story time and to greet children throughout the event.

Mets owner Steve Cohen hosts second community visioning session regarding development of area around Citi Field

Hundreds of community residents and leaders gathered at the Piazza Club inside Citi Field to participate in a visioning session regarding the development of a nearby 50-acre lot. This marked the second visioning session New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has hosted at Citi Field in January as he attempts to collect as much community feedback regarding the development as possible.

Attendees of the visioning session went to a series of interactive stations, sharing what mattered most to them when it came to improving the area around Citi Field, including preferred forms of year-round entertainment, ability to access different forms of transportation and attainable local jobs and training. Information and input was collected from the community in how they would like to see the lot utilized. A common theme among many of those who took part in the visioning session was the desire to see something built there that would bring a lot of economic opportunity to the community and provide year-round entertainment.

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens doctor aims to bring awareness to women’s heart health

With February marking the beginning of American Heart Month, a cardiologist from NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital spoke with QNS about the importance of heart health for women.

According to attending cardiologist Dr. Joanna Troulakis, approximately 400,000 women die as a result of cardiovascular diseases each year in the United States. She noted that women have suffered more cardiovascular disease deaths than men in recent years. When it comes to heart attacks, the mortality rate for women is higher than men.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

‘Where do we go now?’ Michaels set to close its doors in Fresh Meadows next month

The Michaels located at 187-04 Horace Harding Expwy. in Fresh Meadows will be permanently closing its doors on Feb. 23. The announcement that Michaels will be leaving the Fresh Meadows Shopping Center has led to an outpouring of reactions from many community members.

“We know this is disappointing to our customers in Queens, but we hope to continue to serve them at our other locations in New York City or online at Michaels.com,” a spokesperson for Michaels said in a statement to Patch.com.