Demanding coronavirus protections, Instacart workers plan to strike Monday, March 30

[CDC]

“They are putting us directly in harm’s way while profiting greatly. We cannot let this be considered normal.”

The "Instacart Shoppers and Gig Workers Collective," representing some 175,000 laborers for Instacart, plan to strike on Monday, March 30.

Organizers of the labor protest say the grocery delivery giant is denying gig workers ("shoppers") basic coronavirus pandemic protections such as gloves, soap, hand sanitizer, and pay for those with pre-existing health issues that place them at high risk for COVID-19.

Read their demands at medium.com/@GigWorkersCollective. Here's an excerpt:

On Monday, March 30, Shoppers will walk off of our jobs, and will not return to work until our demands are met. We demand that Instacart meet the following conditions:

• Safety precautions at no cost to workers — PPE (at minimum hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes/sprays and soap).
• Hazard pay — an extra $5 per order and defaulting the in-app tip amount to at least 10% of the order total.
• An extension and expansion of pay for workers impacted by COVID-19 — anyone who has a doctor’s note for either a preexisting condition that’s a known risk factor or requiring a self-quarantine.
• The deadline to qualify for these benefits must be extended beyond April 8th.


Instacart's response is here.

Reporting from Lauren Kaori Gurley at VICE Motherboard:

On Monday, workers say they will refuse to accept orders until Instacart provides hazard pay of an additional $5 an order, free safety gear (hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and soap) to workers, and expands its paid sick leave to include workers with pre-existing conditions who have been advised by their doctors not to work at this time. Workers say the strike will last until Instacart agrees to these terms.

The March 30 walkout will build on a wave of wildcat strikes sweeping across the country. In recent days, Amazon warehouse workers in Queens, New York, sanitation workers in Pittsburgh, and poultry plant workers at Perdue Farms in Georgia have all walked off the job, demanding greater protections from coronavirus, and leading to calls for a “general strike,” or mass strike action across the country. Meanwhile, the upcoming Instacart strike will mark the first time gig workers in the United States—who face the double bind of working on the front lines of virus and lacking basic labor protections like healthcare and paid sick days—have walked off the job in response to coronavirus.

In a blog post Friday morning, Instacart promises “new features and offerings” in response to Covid-19, but none of this addresses gig workers’ demands. Excerpt:

“The health and safety of our entire community — shoppers, customers, and employees — is our first priority. Our goal is to offer a safe and flexible earnings opportunity to shoppers, while also proactively taking the appropriate precautionary measures to operate safely. We want to underscore that we absolutely respect the rights of shoppers to provide us feedback and voice their concerns. It’s a valuable way for us to continuously make improvements to the shopper experience and we’re committed to supporting this important community during this critical time.”

Read more at VICE Motherboard:
Instacart’s Gig Workers Are Planning a Massive, Nationwide Strike