How to Support Instacart Employees During a Strike

Delivery workers for the Instacart shopping app are astounding today for better protection and pay as a result of the significant increase in demand for their services, thanks to the coronavirus outbreak. Here’s what you need to know about a strike and how to support workers.

What’s happening?

Instacart buyers (the name the company uses for its delivery workers) are independent contractors and, according to a March 27 statement from the Gig Workers Collective – a group of activists organizing the strike – have asked the company to provide them with higher wages and protections. against the coronavirus in the past few weeks. Their needs have remained largely unmet for now, but last week Instacart announced it was preparing to hire another 300,000 shoppers to meet unprecedented demand for home delivery services.

The remarkable nature of the coronavirus pandemic means that companies like Instacart, which rely on people to deliver their products, must rethink their health and safety policies – not only to meet the needs of their employees, but also as a measure to protect public health. During this pandemic, delivery service providers are front line workers, making numerous trips between supermarkets or warehouses and private homes, putting themselves at risk of contracting – and transmitting – the virus while the rest of us stay home and stay safe. Delivery staff from companies such as FedEx, UPS and Amazon have also raised concerns about their working conditions amid the coronavirus outbreak. This has led to some policy changes – for example, signatures are no longer required for UPS and FedEx deliveries, allowing drivers and customers to comply with physical distance rules.

Instacart buyers said the company did not supply them with consumables such as hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes or sprays to protect themselves and customers. The Gig Workers Collective notes that Instacart offers little to no protection to its customers at a time when their services are critical to the company’s operations, be it personal protective equipment or sick pay. For current Instacart sick leave policy to take effect, buyers must first test positive for COVID-19 and be quarantined by health authorities – both must happen before April 8th. Considering the shortage of test kits and the general lack of such kits. access, it is essentially impossible to clear the bar; hence the strike.

Instacart Buyer Requirements

At least some Instacart buyers quit work today, March 30th (the Gig Workers Collective is not a formal union with a list of members, so it is unclear how many buyers are involved) and continue to strike until the following requirements are met :

1. Free safety measures for workers – PPE (at least hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes / sprays and soap).

2. Pay at risk – an additional $ 5 per order, and the default tip in the app is at least 10% of the total order.

3. Wage extensions and increases for workers affected by COVID-19 – for anyone who has a doctor’s certificate of a pre-existing condition that is a known risk factor or requires self-quarantine.

4. The deadline for these benefits must be extended after April 8th.

In a statement to Gizmodo on Friday, March 27, an Instacart spokesperson said the health and safety of “customers, customers and employees” is their “top priority”:

“Our goal is to offer customers a safe and flexible earning opportunity and actively take appropriate safety precautions,” the spokesperson said. “We want to emphasize that we absolutely respect the right of buyers to give us feedback and express their concerns. This is a valuable way for us to continually improve our customer experience, and we strive to support this important community at this critical time. ”

Then, in Sunday, March 29, Instacart issued a public statement, which sets out the additional security measures that they now offer their independent contractors, including improved access to the disinfectant agent for hands, as well as a new default setting tips and bonus payment for hours, worked from March 15 to April 15. The company also announced that it has extended pay guarantees until May 8 for workers diagnosed with Covid-19 or ordered to stay at home by a doctor.

Unsurprisingly, the giant workers’ collective issued another statement yesterday , calling Instacart’s response a “stupid joke,” repeating their demands and confirming that today’s strike will continue. And while Instacart’s statement also includes information on sickness benefits for part-time workers based on the Gig Workers Collective’s response, it is currently unclear how the company is addressing independent contractor pay issues.

Actions speak louder than words,” Instacart employee Sara Polito told NPR . “You can tell us that we are these domestic heroes and that you value us. But [they] don’t really … show it. They are not taking these steps to warn us. They don’t pay us for the risk. “

What can you do to help

To begin with, do not cross the picket line. Do not order delivery via Instacart today or until the workers are satisfied and the strike is over.

You can also contact Instacart and let them know that you support their independent contractors. If you have time to call, their phone number is 1-888-246-7822, but their website currently has a note about high calls and long waiting times. You can also email Instacart “Community Support Member” at help@instacart.com or via Twitter to express your concerns for the welfare of their customers.

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