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Indybay Feature
Instacart Emergency Walk Off Update
by Gig Workers Collective
Monday Mar 30th, 2020 5:02 PM
Instacart has failed to respond to Shoppers in a way that is respectful, moral, or even just considerate to other human beings.
feeling-the-instacart-strike.png
We are up-to-date on Instacart’s statements published today and over the weekend, and the reality is that Instacart has still failed to provide what we are asking for — what would be necessary — to halt our emergency walk-off.

Instead of focusing its attention on addressing the ongoing health and safety crisis, Instacart has chosen to use its time discrediting the significance, reach, and impact of our walk off.

We want to make it very clear that we do not keep lists or head counts of workers that participate in actions, we never have and until we are properly classified we never will. We do this for our mutual safety — as misclassified employees, we are afforded no rights or protections to organize under the NLRA. We are a remote and atomized workforce, we have no shop floor, no strike counts, and no physical picket line. Shoppers are participating in collective action by remaining safely at home.

That said, we maintain an organizing group with over 15,000 members that are already digitally connected. We have run a significant and far-reaching media campaign to extend our call to action to Shoppers who are not yet plugged into our digital organizing outlets. We know that at minimum thousands of Shoppers are heeding the call to walk off and not return until our demands are met in full and we can return to work safely.

Instacart has failed to respond to Shoppers in a way that is respectful, moral, or even just considerate to other human beings. Instacart has chosen instead to spend its considerable resources not to fund solutions or protect its workers and its customers, but to grind out a tiresome narrative suggesting the walk-off has failed to impact its operations. We know this is false. We know delivery windows are impacted, we can see it in the app for ourselves. We know their PR team is scrambling to mitigate the damage that has been caused to Instacart’s reputation. Bosses and CEOs will never acknowledge that organizing moves the needle, because to do so will only feed the fire. This is par for the course, especially for Instacart, and we are accustomed to the ways in which they undermine collective action, but we are outraged and disgusted that they continued to do so while endangering the health and safety of Shoppers, customers, and the general public. We know they are feeling the heat, and we are not letting up until Instacart provides Shoppers with what they need to work safely and with dignity amid the coronavirus crisis.

We’ve asked workers in one of our Facebook groups to explain why the walk-off is so important to them and why they are participating. Here are some of their responses:

Jennifer B — Health professionals are literally saying going to the grocery store is a medium risk activity and to spend as little time there as possible and we are expected to do orders and get paid just as we always have. No change in IC pay and in my zone, no change in the way people are tipping to show their appreciation for us taking the risk instead of them.

Laura R — am striking because i have been on quarantine since march 16th with no real answers about why i was denied extended pay! I have submitted all required documents. Before i was quarantined i asked about PPE.

Debbie P — Besides the low pay normally never mind with this pandemic danger right now, I have an auto immune disease that I cannot take a chance with. Especially not for what they are offering. You cannot get in touch with anyone if there’s an issue. They are not Giving out any protection to the shoppers.. they’re acting like nothing is going on.

Jaime L — While I have been fortunate to have somewhat decent pay in my area, most areas are not like this. My stores are pretty well stocked. Not all areas are like this. I run into minimal issues and have not needed SH once since this started. Not all experiences are like this. My fellow shoppers that need it have no support from IC. My tips haven’t been taken. Other shoppers have. Every single shopper should receive fair pay. I’m striking to stand in solidarity with my fellow shoppers who are going through hell right now. Right now it can’t just be about what is good or what works for us individualy. It needs to improve for the rest of the people I care about.

Katherine A — Instacart’s meaningless offers of support. They offer time off if you are quarantined, but the threshold to qualify is set at an impossible point so Instacart is benefitting from the good PR of acting like they care without actually doing anything to help.

Nicole S — I haven’t worked IC in a few weeks, and that’s because while the pandemic is increasing in its effects on everything and everyone, the Instacart pay in my area only keeps going down. I’ve seen so many doubles and triples, going 14+ miles, for $20 max. It’s disgusting. We’re out there exposing ourselves and potentially our families, and they just keep dropping the pay.

Taylor A — I’m a single mother of a daughter with an auto immune disorder and asthma. Sure, I would survive Covid but is it worth bringing it home to her?

Craig C — The risk and costs associated with doing the work are far higher than the rewards currently, I’m not putting my family and customers at risk for lower than minimum wage, when i can comfortably

Kimberly J — I am striking because they haven’t offered shoppers hazard pay. Instacart is making a ton of money due to this virus and the people who are doing the most work isn’t benefiting at all

Christina W — I’m striking because enough is enough. All we’ve ever asked for was fair wages while continually getting screwed over. This is now an $8 billion company. It’s time for the CEO’s to stop being so greedy and taking advantage of shoppers who want to work.

Jason H — I’m pissed there is no hazard pay and they are purposefully batching orders together to make really large doubles and triples and ridiculously low batch offers. We shouldn’t be relying on customer tips for our pay.

Baba L — I’m not risking my life, my families or anyone else’s for shitty pay. Shitty pay and no compensation if I do get sick. Nope.

Katelyn C — I have a family with preexisting conditions. It’s not with my time to put them in danger for $7

Cerena C — I’ve been unable too work this whole month! I’m BROKE! I have -2.34 in my account! At the beginning of the month I got sick. No big deal. Common cold. But then the shit hit the fan with Covid -19. I’ve had a cough since then. Every news outlet said, if there’s ANY sign of sickness STAY HOME. I also live with my 77 year old father who has serious respiratory issues. I couldn’t work because I have a cough and I’m terrified of exposing my father too the virus if I went out! IC was clear they’d only help those who were sick with the virus or in quarantine . I was never diagnosed because I couldn’t get a test because I never had a fever. So, I’ve been screwed this month. No money. $-2.34.

Carrie S — I am striking because 1 batch pay minimum is $7. Since the pandemic, most batches are double or triple orders which means the batch pay minimum should be $14 for a double and $21 for a triple. However, we still just get $7 for all three orders. Instacart is using this pandemic to their advantage.
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