New York:_____The Asian American Federation (AAF) celebrates the decision by the City Council to legalize e-bikes and bring much-needed relief and legal clarity to tens of thousands of immigrant delivery workers. Since 2017, AAF has led the fight to ensure that delivery workers can work with greater safety and dignity on our city streets. Delivery workers, most of whom are immigrants, have toiled day after day, including during the apex of the coronavirus pandemic, to bring essential services to New Yorkers. E-bike delivery workers have long relied on the speed and cost efficiency of e-bikes to keep up with the high volume of demands from New Yorkers who have increasingly relied on their services for take-out and delivery of other essential goods.
By legalizing bikes with electric motors that can travel up to 25 mph and setting restrictions on the impoundment of e-bikes that do not meet this standard, the City Council has ensured that immigrant delivery workers can work safely to support their families, without fear of punitive fines from the NYPD and losing wages from the seizure of their bikes.
But our work does not stop here! AAF calls on the NYPD to return the hundreds of e-bikes that were impounded from delivery workers to their original owners so that these essential workers can recover some of the financial loss they have suffered as a result.
“E-bike delivery workers in New York City are largely immigrants from Asian and Latinx communities, and have a right to feed their families without being discriminated against. They served New Yorkers during the dire days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and showed our city and lawmakers that their services were vital to keeping our restaurants open and our economy running. We thank our fearless City Council for standing up for immigrant workers, and restoring justice and dignity to these workers. We urge them to hold the NYPD accountable for returning the hundreds of confiscated bikes sitting in their warehouses to their rightful owners,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation.
We celebrate with our partners at Biking Public Project, Make the Road, Trans Alt, and the amazing team at Legal Aid. We would like to recognize our former staff Persephone Tan and Tiffany Chang, who organized rallies in the dead of winter, set up countless meetings, made hundreds of phone calls, and pored over every bill to ensure that our city lives up to our sanctuary city values.
Our special thanks go to Council Member Margaret Chin, who single-handedly supported the delivery workers for years, long before the advocates stepped in. Thank you to our allies Council Speaker Johnson, Council Members Fernando Cabrera, Costas Constantinides, Carlos Menchaca, Ydanis Rodriguez, and Donovan Richards for their unwavering support through the years. They recognized that our city’s most vulnerable immigrant workers needed a just policy that would benefit our city’s economy and change lives for the better.
This victory is for the workers!