Gig workers are disrupting Instacart’s delivery business Nov.3-5 to demand an increase in default tips and overall pay, Fast Company reported on Sunday (Nov. 3).
Open letters to Instacart CEO and founder Apoorva Mehta were signed by 212 workers who want the company to overhaul its tipping structure and increase default tips from 5 percent to 10 percent.
“You have demonstrated a pattern of behavior as CEO of eviscerating our pay and pirating our tips,” the workers wrote in an open letter on Medium. “It would cost you, Apoorva, absolutely nothing to restore our previous tip defaults to at least 10 percent.”
While there is not a job, per se, to strike from, numerous workers have vowed to reject assignments and disrupt the delivery process. The letter says this is the fourth consecutive year that workers walked off the job.
“They’re always trimming from the bottom. They never trim from the top,” Silicon Valley-based Vanessa Bain, 33, said of Instacart, as reported by Reuters.
Bain said it was a work action last year that led Instacart to drop the practice of using drivers’ tips to subsidize base pay.
Tips have been the focus after Instacart changed its pay structure in late 2018, which allegedly lowered workers’ wages for doing the same work. Workers were against the company policy of counting tips toward its guaranteed minimum payment of $10 per assignment.
Workers also want the company to remove its 5 percent service fee, which they say “confuses customers” who assume that fee goes directly to the drivers when it actually goes to Instacart.
The protest follows a class-action lawsuit against Instacart regarding compensation.
“We take the feedback of the shopper community very seriously and remain committed to listening to and using that feedback to improve their experience,” an Instacart spokesperson said earlier last month.
In California, the gig worker protection bill AB-5 goes into effect Jan.1, 2020, making it more difficult for gig companies like Uber and Instacart to classify its employees as 1099 independent contractors. The law was passed in part due to workers showing up in force and protesting.