Instacart Workers Set to Strike Monday Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Instacart's shoppers, who select and deliver groceries, say the company is doing little to protect them from the virus.
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Workers at Instacart, a grocery shopping and delivery service, have pledged to strike starting Monday after complaining about the safety of their working conditions amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Instacart said earlier this month that its sales were growing 10 times a week thanks to the pandemic.

But workers said Friday they had enough. 

“Instacart has still not provided essential protections to shoppers on the front lines that could prevent them from becoming carriers, falling ill themselves, or worse,” the Gig Workers Collective, an organization of gig worker activists, said in a statement Friday. 

Shoppers select and deliver groceries.

“Instacart’s promise to pay shoppers up to 14 days of pay if diagnosed or placed in mandatory quarantine not only falls short, but isn’t even being honored,” the collective added.

Instacart tried to mollify its workers Sunday, saying it will soon provide hand sanitizer to its full-service shoppers. It also said it was enabling customers to establish their own default tipping percentage in the app.

But the workers are unbowed.

“Aside from simply not being enough, this is insulting,” the Gig Workers Collective said in a statement.

“We had been asking for hand sanitizer for many, many weeks. But apparently the company is capable of sourcing some with two days of work? Where was this before?”

As for the tip app, “setting the tip amount to whatever a customer had previously tipped is ridiculous, because most previous customers would have tipped a different (lesser) amount back when things were more normal,” the statement said.

“This will, in all likelihood, provide no meaningful benefit to shoppers.” In addition, hazard pay wasn’t addressed at all, the statement said.

Instacart is owned by numerous venture capital firms and hedge funds.