Coronavirus

Instacart Shoppers Plan Strike For Better COVID-19 Protections, Pay

Instacart workers plan a strike for March 30.

Instacart shoppers plan to walk off the job on strike Monday (March 30), according to a Medium post Friday (March 27) by worker representatives. Shoppers are the workers who shop for and then deliver groceries to customers.

The shoppers, who are gig workers not full-time employees, have numerous demands including safety precautions like hand sanitizer, wipes, disinfectant and soap, at no cost to workers. The workers also want hazard pay in the amount of an extra $5 per order as well as making the tip amount in-app to 10 percent of the order total.

They also want an expansion and extension of pay for workers affected with the coronavirus, including anyone with a doctor’s note for a preexisting condition for a known risk, or a self-quarantine. Plus, they are asking the deadline to qualify for those benefits to be extended beyond April 8.

The Medium post accuses Instacart of turning the coronavirus pandemic as “a PR campaign,” treating itself as a savior for families that have been forced to quarantine to avoid the highly contagious virus. However, the company has failed to protect its workers in ways that could lead to them becoming carriers of the virus or getting sick themselves, the post alleged.

In a statement to Vice.com, an Instacart spokesperson said the health and safety of its workers and customers is its top priority. “We want to underscore that we absolutely respect the rights of shoppers to provide us feedback and voice their concerns. It’s a valuable way for us to continuously make improvements to the shopper experience and we’re committed to supporting this important community during this critical time.”

The strike, set for Monday, would be the first time gig economy workers who lack basic protections like healthcare walk off their jobs in response to the pandemic.

The company recently announced a plan to hire 300,000 new workers in response to the pandemic, which has caused mass disruptions to American life and economy. Many residents now rely on delivery services to avoid going outside, due to the risk of contracting the highly contagious coronavirus that has now left thousands dead.

In a statement, Instacart said it prioritized the health and safety of everyone from customers to employees. But a blog post Friday morning about precautions the company is taking in regards to the virus didn’t address the demands made by workers.

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