Instacart shoppers are unhappy with the company’s new payment structure, which has resulted in a decrease in wages. As a result, the workers are boycotting lower-paying orders, as well as trying to organize the company’s network of independent contractors.
“We’re being mistreated,” Alid Alvarado, a single mom who lives in south suburban Oak Lawn, told the Chicago Tribune. Alvarado took a job as an Instacart shopper to earn extra money. But after expecting a $300 check for a 20-hour shift, she was instead paid only $160.
In October, the company announced that by the end of the year it would be fully implementing a new formula to determine how its shoppers would be paid, which would factor in details such as the weight of items purchased. The result, according to workers, has been inconsistent wages and a boost in low-paying orders.
Since the new payment system launched in the Chicago market Nov. 5, some local shoppers have been boycotting low-paying orders in an attempt to force Instacart to pay them more. In addition, letters are being sent out to state attorneys general and members of Congress, requesting that they investigate the treatment of independent contractors.
“The gig companies need to be held accountable to the people who built their businesses,” said Matthew Telles, a shopper in Des Plaines and a chief organizer in the fight for better pay from Instacart. He estimates that anywhere from 1,000 to 15,000 shoppers are actively participating in the boycott, which Instacart claims has not affected its operations.
“We want to be clear that every shopper and every order matters to us, and we take all feedback seriously,” the company said in a statement. “We’re committed to looking into every issue that our shoppers raise to better understand how we can improve our features and create the best possible shopper experience.”