Friday news roundup September 24, 2021
New York passed a package of legislation to improve conditions for delivery workers. The legislation will set minimum pay and address the poor working conditions of couriers employed by app-based food delivery services. The food delivery industry exploded during the coronavirus pandemic as restaurants increasingly relied on delivery services to survive, with the number of delivery workers rising to over 80,000. In response to a Cornell University survey, 42% of food delivery workers reported being underpaid or not paid at all. The new legislation prevents the food delivery apps and courier services from charging workers fees to receive their pay; makes the apps disclose their gratuity policies; prohibits the apps from charging delivery workers for insulated food bags, which can cost up to $50; and requires restaurant owners to make bathrooms available to delivery workers. Corey Johnson, New York City Council speaker, is optimistic the new legislation will spark a national movement to improve conditions for app-based delivery workers.
Read Paul Oyer’s article on “The gig economy,” and investigate other IZA World of Labor content on the future of work.
The US special envoy for Haiti resigned in protest over the deportation of Haitian migrants. In his resignation letter, senior diplomat Daniel Foote called the US decision to return migrants fleeing an earthquake and political instability “inhumane.” Thousands of refugees from Haiti had gathered in a makeshift camp under a bridge in a Texas border town and last weekend the US government commenced deportation flights to return them to Haiti. Foote described Haiti as a “collapsed state,” and said that the country “simply cannot support the forced infusion of thousands of returned migrants lacking food, shelter, and money without additional, avoidable human tragedy.” Many Haitians left after a devastating earthquake struck the country in 2010 and 2021 has seen further upheaval as President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July and another large earthquake struck in August. President Biden—accused of having an incoherent policy on migration—is caught between conservatives who say he is weak on undocumented migrants and liberals who view his policies as being too much like those of former president Trump. Recent images from the border have shown horse-mounted US officers corralling the refugees back across onto Mexican territory.
Read Cynthia Bansak and Sarah Pearlman’s recently updated article on “The impact of legalizing unauthorized immigrants,” and find more IZA World of Labor content on how migration policy affects the labor market.
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has urged increased global action to save Pacific communities from climate change. At a virtual meeting with Pacific Island Forum leaders, Guterres said a 45% cut in emissions by 2030 is needed globally to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Pacific Island nations face rising sea levels and extreme weather events due to global heating. The president of Palau, Surangel Whipps Jr, in an address to the general assembly earlier in the week talked about the destruction caused to his country—which historically lies outside the Pacific typhoon belt—by Typhoon Surigae in April, the third typhoon to hit Palau since 2012. Whipps said Surigae damaged 20% of homes in the country, destroyed millions of dollars in crops, and wreaked havoc on reefs and corals, undermining the nation’s food security. Guterres is calling for “more ambition from every country.” He says that “nationally determined contributions that currently exist would result in an increase of 16% in emissions by 2030, and that puts us on a catastrophic pathway of 2.7 degrees of global heating. This must stop. This must be reversed.” The secretary general also called on developed countries to deliver on their longstanding promise to mobilize $100bn a year for climate change action in developing countries. The leaders of the Pacific countries urge developed countries to set new and more ambitious emissions targets ahead of the COP26 meeting to be held in Glasgow in November.
Find IZA World of Labor content on climate change and air pollution.