Instacart Delivery Workers Protest Low Wages

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San Francisco, CA—Instacart delivery workers are protesting a change in pricing structure, which, they say, is drastically cutting their wages, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Buzzfeed News reported in November that, two weeks after Instacart had begun to roll out their pricing change, workers had begun a “soft strike” to demand better pay. The strike involved refusing to deliver extra-heavy items, drive more than eight miles per order, or accept time-consuming, low-paying jobs.

The workers sent a petition to Instacart’s CEO with demands like the ability to see the delivery address before accepting a job, an XL option for large orders with a corresponding increase in pay, and an appeals process for worker deactivations.

David Hahn, chief product officer for Instacart, told Buzzfeed that he was not aware of the soft strike or the letter the workers sent to the CEO.

Buzzfeed reported that Instacart workers had taken to social media to share earnings estimates, including $10 to pick up 390 individual items and drive them 8.5 miles away, or $3.96 to pick up seven bags of groceries and deliver them four miles away. Instacart’s Twitter is laden with screenshots from employees showing disparities in tips given vs. tips received, low pay for large jobs, and employees pointing out that, for many jobs, after gas, they would be paying to work.

“After a couple weeks,” Hahn said, “People who’ve actually been on the new earnings–not just heard about it–they prefer it.”

The low pricing is causing many employees to reject jobs repeatedly, Buzzfeed says, and employees are considering abandoning the company wholesale.

According to the Tribune, leaders of the strike are preparing form letters for shoppers to send to their state attorneys general and members of Congress asking them to look at the potential exploitation of independent contractors, who lack labor protections such as minimum wage thresholds.

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