Instacart Shoppers Announce Walk Off
For the past week, Instacart shoppers and Gig Workers Collective have been urging Instacart to fix 5 major issues plaguing their workforce. We have been ignored.
Instacart has left us no choice but to walk off starting on Saturday, October 16th. We will not fill orders until the following demands are met:
- Instacart shoppers must be paid by order, and not by batch. In 2019, when Apoorva Mehta publicly apologized for supplementing pay with tips in response to our protests, the company lowered the base pay floor from $10 to $7. But that’s not even the worst part — that $7 figure could cover up to three orders at once. If we shopped a single order, the base pay would be $7, but if we shopped three orders at once, the base pay would be $7 for the lot. Instead of a shopper fulfilling three orders for a total of $30 base, we now do it for a $7 base. This is effectively a 76% cut to base pay, and is unacceptable.
- Instacart must re-introduce item commission. When Instacart lowered our base pay, it also removed item commission. The $7 base pay was supposed to be a floor that would raise depending on the size of the order. However, nearly every order now pays $7 regardless of the size. A single two item order pays $7, and a triple 50 item order pays $7. Item commission ensures that workers are paid for their time, since the more items that are in the order, the longer it takes to fill.
- Instacart’s rating system can no longer unfairly punish shoppers for issues outside their control. For example, the company has an issue with customer fraud that is unfairly impacting workers. Instacart’s lacking fraud detection ability and policies make it very easy for customers to get free groceries by falsely marking items as missing/damaged, with the blame constantly falling on the shopper. Even when we provide photos of deliveries, Instacart can either lower our rating (which prevents us from seeing good offers for weeks), or deactivate us from the platform entirely. A single 4-star rating is enough to affect our pay for weeks. Instacart’s inability to properly investigate customer complaints should not result in blame unfairly placed on shoppers.
- Instacart shoppers need occupational death benefits. Working for Instacart is not safe, and workers must be protected on the job. The last 18 months have been especially dangerous for Instacart shoppers. The company refused to provide sick pay for shoppers who tested positive for COVID, even when one shopper was on a ventilator. We had to walk off the job in order for Instacart to address this and change their policy. Coronavirus aside, shopper Lynn Murray was killed while shopping for a customer during a mass shooting. While Instacart’s corporate employees spent these last 18 months working from home, shoppers were risking their lives while the company did nothing to protect them. Instead, they quadrupled their workforce with desperate people in need of income, using them to bring down pay and replace any shopper who knew their worth.
- The default tip must be raised to at least 10% for every single order. Instacart has been playing with our tips since 2016 — first replacing them with a service fee that the company said went to us (even though they pocketed it), then outright stealing our tips, then using tips to supplement pay, and more recently testing out a user interface without a default tip set. Instacart shoppers are bleeding out of both ends — the base pay is now far lower than it has been AND the company is discouraging customers from tipping. A 5% default tip is abysmal when paired with Instacart’s low pay.
Instacart has a well-established history of exploiting its shoppers, and we cannot continue to allow them to run their business as usual until it fixes these 5 pressing issues. It’s disgusting that we have to take these measures in hopes of being heard when we’re simply asking for things we once had — like a 10% default tip for all orders — to be paid fairly depending on the size of the order — and getting paid for each order, rather than batching orders together without paying for the work done per-order.
Instacart has refused to finally address these fixes that workers have been begging the company for, in discussions both private and public. We enjoy shopping for our community but simply can’t afford to continue doing it until Instacart fixes these 5 pressing issues.
Please continue to #DeleteInstacart until shoppers’ 5 demands are met.