Shoppers for the online grocery delivery platform Instacart plan to walk off their jobs nationwide beginning Monday to protest their working conditions amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Shoppers for the app go to grocery stores on behalf of customers and then deliver groceries to their doors. Customers are relying on the app and its shoppers more and more to avoid catching the virus and to reduce unnecessary travel.
The shoppers are protesting what they say are inadequate workplace protections, meager pay and false promises, according to a statement from shoppers who have allied with the advocacy group Gig Workers Collective.
“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 group wrote in a public statement.
The shoppers are planning to walk off the job beginning Monday and not return until they get the following commitments from the app’s owners:
- Personal protection equipment like hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, provided by the app
- An extra $5 per order, plus changing the default tip in the app to at least 10 percent of the order
- Extending and expanding pay for workers who fall ill with the virus or who are high-risk
- Extending the deadline to qualify for the benefits beyond April 8
Grocery chains like Wegmans, Tops, Price Chopper and Aldi all work with Instacart. Hundreds of thousands of shoppers work with the app nationwide, and the app has plans to add 300,000 more soon in response to increased demand.
The app has issued new safety guidelines for workers, plus offered sick pay and up to 14 days of extended pay if a shopper is diagnosed with the virus or placed in mandatory isolation or quarantine.
It’s not immediately clear how widespread the strike will be or how much it will impact service.
MORE ON CORONAVIRUS
‘It lifts us up:’ Woman’s generosity fills hearts and stomachs of staff at Hershey Med: coronavirus hero
Delay of tax deadline due to the coronavirus will cause ‘significant disruption’ to Pa.’s budget process
Bloomsburg woman’s worldwide porch parties go viral: Coronavirus heroes
‘There are awesome people in the world right now,’ bride on wedding being officiated by Highspire mayor