NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There are growing concerns for New York City delivery workers facing dangers on the job, from bikes being stolen to getting attacked.
The workers are fighting back and calling for more safety.READ MORE: Conservation Work Done On Gay Liberation Monument In Christopher Park
Onder Unaler is back on his bike doing food deliveries.
“I’m trying to be cautious when I’m working,” he told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
He’s been looking over his shoulder since a suspect snuck up behind him two weeks ago, striking him with the base of a traffic divider.
“I really felt like my skull was crushed,” Unaler said. “Now I’m getting better, but I’m very sensitive to any kind of noise, movement from my behind.”
He’s not alone.
A delivery worker attacked in January is still on the mend after surgery and still awaiting arrests.
“Workers are not only being robbed, are being attacked and are being killed for doing this essential work throughout New York City,” said Ligia Guallpa, executive director of the Workers Justice Project.READ MORE: New York's COVID State Of Emergency Set To Expire Thursday
Guallpa is fighting for better working conditions for non-unionized industries.
“Food delivery workers are demanding protections, demanding for the apps to be regulated when it comes to make sure there’s more transparency in their tips,” she said.
Many are immigrants working long hours to make ends meet, like Brooklyn resident Gustavo Ajche, who works construction during the day and does deliveries at night.
“During the summer, you have to work with multiple apps. Otherwise you don’t make anything,” Ajche said through a translator.
Through the translator, he explained an uptick in violence in the pandemic led to delivery workers banning together, communicating in group chats, creating self-defense committees and holding rallies demanding change.
“One of the beautiful things that happened this week is that the chief of NYPD commit to protect us delivery workers,” Ajche said.
These workers are hoping their message is heard across the city.
“To people to really treat us with respect and as essential workers that we are,” he said.MORE NEWS: 'Diaphragm Law' Banning NYPD Officers From Applying Pressure To Suspect's Torso Struck Down
Many delivery workers will be testifying at a City Council committee hearing Tuesday on a legislation package aiming to provide more worker protections.