This week’s magazine features a story on deliverymen that’s at once disheartening (as the piece reads, “For $1.75 an hour, they put up with abusive employers, muggers, rain, snow, potholes, car accidents, six-day weeks, and lousy tips”) but also encouraging, since the service-industry bottom-dwellers are starting to rise up. Take, for instance, Javier Cruz, a delivery worker at the Backstage Deli on the Upper East Side. We’ve learned he filed a class-action suit last week after allegedly being paid a daily flat rate of just $16 plus tips (which averaged about $25 per nine-hour day) to bus tables, run food, clean up, and stock shelves. The attorney involved, Justin A. Zeller, tells us this isn’t his most bizarre case.
Zeller has also filed a lawsuit on behalf of a former deliveryman at Texas Rotisserie & Grill’s Upper East Side location who claims that he was not paid a flat or hourly rate of any kind but instead had to purchase food at a $2 discount before delivering it. (So, if a customer placed a $20 order, the deliveryman would pay the restaurant $18 for the grub and pocket the $2 difference plus a tip upon delivering it.) As Jennifer Gonnerman’s investigation reveals, these stories are all too typical — so you might want to reserve some of your next $500 bottle-service tip for the guy who’s hustling your General Tso’s.