Instacart employee Monica Ortega walks past empty racks where items like toilet paper and napkins … [+]
AFP via Getty Images
Topline: The contracted shoppers of Instacart, an online grocery delivery service (Costco, Aldi, CVS and many others) enjoying a huge demand amid the coronavirus, plan to walk off on Monday, March 30, to strike for specific demands during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, including hazard pay and extended paid sick leave, according to a statement on Medium.
- “For the past several weeks, Instacart shoppers and Gig Workers Collective have been urging Instacart to take proper safety precautions,” reads the post. “We have been ignored.”
- Saying they won’t return until met, the demands listed include providing personal protective equipment like hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes at no cost to workers, an additional $5 per order and a bump to the default in-app tip amount to 10% and an expansion of its paid sick leave—which the release says “isn’t even being honored” at this time—to include workers with pre-existing conditions or requiring self-quarantine and to extend beyond the current April 8 qualifying deadline.
- It follows Instacart’s announcement Monday that it would be hiring 300,000 additional contracted shoppers through the next three months to meet historic demand for its service, up 150% year-over-year with 15% larger orders on average.
- According to Vox, by Sunday, there were around 20% of Americans under shelter-in-place orders, meaning a significant uptick in orders on Instacart, its 150,000 shoppers of which don’t have medical benefits or salary.
- In the case of increasing the default tip option from 5% to 10%, it’s not the first time shoppers have taken action to demand the change: in November, thousands went on a three-day national strike, but following the action, Instacart instead eliminated a $3 bonus shoppers received for five-star ratings.
- Founded in 2012, Instacart was last valued in 2018 at around $7.87 billion, having raised $1.95 billion total by that point, according to Pitchbook; Forbes has reached out to the company for comment.
Crucial Quote: From the statement: “Instacart has turned this pandemic into a PR campaign, portraying itself the hero of families that are sheltered-in-place, isolated or quarantined…They are profiting astronomically off of us literally risking our lives, all while refusing to provide us with effective protection, meaningful pay and meaningful benefits.”
Key Background: The $2 trillion stimulus bill passed in both the Senate and House extends unemployment benefits to gig workers, who are particularly exposed to the virus. An Uber driver in Queens, NY, died Tuesday of the coronavirus two weeks after he stopped driving to avoid sickness, according to the New York Post. Uber has pushed back strongly to the assertion that it should treat its drivers as full employees. Yesterday, the U.S. surged ahead of China and Italy to lead the world in confirmed cases of the coronavirus with 92,932.