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A Grubhub food delivery driver rides a bicycle during a snowstorm in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

The New York City Council approved a sweeping legislative package on Thursday that aimed at improving pay and working conditions for delivery drivers working for app-based food delivery services.

Why it matters: The new protections put New York at the forefront of regulating the massive food delivery industry dominated by companies such as Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats, the New York Times noted.

Driving the news: The package of legislation includes measures to establish minimum payments, require food delivery apps to provide insulated food bags for free and make gratuity payments more transparent, according to a council press statement ahead of the vote.

  • The new protections also require restaurants to make their restrooms available to delivery drivers and allow drivers to set boundaries on their routes, such as setting maximum distances per trip or noting they don't want to ride over bridges and tunnels.

The big picture: Around 65,000 delivery drivers were designated essential workers in New York City during the pandemic but have traditionally lacked the same protections as other works due to their contractor status, per Bloomberg.

  • While other cities around the country have tried to regulate the industry, and some passed measures to give couriers hazard pay during the pandemic, New York City's measures have gone further than its peers, according to the Times.

What they're saying: “These workers sacrificed their own safety during the pandemic to bring food to our homes, yet in some cases, they were denied bathroom access at restaurants and charged fees by third-party apps,” Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, said in a statement, per the Times.

  • “I’m proud of New York City and this Council for standing up for these workers, and I urge other major cities to protect this industry," he added.
  • "These essential workers deserve nothing less," Johnson said.

Go deeper

Dec 22, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Minneapolis council member-elect seeks voting rights for noncitizens

Voters cast ballots at the Kenny Elementary School in Minneapolis on Nov. 2. Photo: Christian Monterrosa via AP

An incoming city council member wants to bring New York City's recent move to allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections to Minneapolis.

Driving the news: Council member-elect Jason Chavez told Axios he's in the "beginning steps" of exploring local legislation on the matter.

  • He hopes to introduce a measure after the new council is sworn in next year.

Pelosi announces bid for re-election ahead of 2022 midterms

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced her bid for re-election Tuesday, amid a deluge of other safe-seat Democrats announcing their retirements.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s announcement follows months of speculation — despite her denials — that she was preparing to leave Congress.

Scoop: Qatar emir to visit White House on Monday

The emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, leaves the White House after meeting President Trump in 2019. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The emir of Qatar will meet with President Biden at the White House on Monday to discuss Afghanistan as well as contingency plans to provide natural gas to Europe in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Europe's reliance on Russia for 40% of its natural gas is undermining Biden's attempts to coordinate "massive" sanctions to be imposed from both sides of the Atlantic if Russia invades. The White House wants Qatar to help ensure European countries can enforce tough sanctions without risking an energy crisis.