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Instacart Shoppers’ Micro-Action Day 2: Contact Federal Legislators

Lack of regulation and blatant disregard for the law have resulted in Instacart’s unchecked and rapid expansion. Our misclassification coupled with insurmountable pay cuts have resulted in Shoppers becoming trapped in cyclical poverty and reliant upon social safety nets to pick up our employer’s tab. We need broad-sweeping state and federal laws and regulations to hold Instacart accountable to minimum wage laws, reimbursement for expenses, assuming the costs and liabilities of its operations, payroll taxes, and employer sponsored insurance programs.

Instacart Shoppers will be contacting federal legislators to demand legislation and regulation that will extend employment protections to misclassified Shoppers and hold Instacart accountable to minimum pay and safety standards. Below you will find a sample of the letter we are sending to federal legislators:

I am a constituent and I am writing to ask for your consideration in supporting Instacart Shoppers, like myself, by holding Instacart accountable for its illegal misclassification of its Full-Service-Shoppers.

Without proper classification, we are not protected by the laws that govern traditional employment, such as minimum wage and overtime. We are ineligible for programs such as our state workers’ compensation insurance, disability insurance, or unemployment insurance. Our employer provides us with no health insurance, retirement plans, or benefits of any kind. According to a recent study by The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College misclassification has resulted in the underpayment of billions of dollars into Social Security annually.

Instacart employs In-Store-Shoppers to do the very same work that we do, with only one exception — in addition to shopping and bagging orders, we also deliver orders to our customers. Our delivery work is expensive and often dangerous, and our misclassification stands only to benefit Instacart. They have managed to pass on the risks, costs, and liabilities onto their misclassified “contractor” workforce, and Shoppers are expected to absorb the financial and legal impact of the operations of a multibillion dollar corporation. Our federal government, as well as state governments, are also footing the bill for our misclassification. Many Shoppers that were once able to afford to feed their families have become reliant on SNAP benefits to keep food on our tables after steep cuts to our pay. Many Shoppers and our families have earned so little that we now qualify for Medicaid programs. Furthermore, we are afforded no protections under the NLRA and have no legal protections around organizing and collective action, and no ability to unionize or collectively bargain.

Allowing gig companies such as Instacart to self-exempt from labor laws by way of misclassification will only encourage other companies to do the same. What Instacart gets away with today, Walmart and Starbucks will implement tomorrow. If you can simply hire someone through an app and classify them as an independent contractor that is subject to no employer-paid payroll taxes, no minimum wage, or overtime laws, we will no doubt see cashiers at Walmart paid on a per-transaction basis, or baristas at Starbucks paid by the latte that they craft or the cup of coffee that they pour.

Instacart gaming the system hurts our economy, it hurts workers, it hurts tax-funded programs, and it hurts and discourages honest and law-abiding competitors. We need strong federal laws and regulations to hold Instacart accountable, properly classify workers, ensure minimum standards for worker’s pay and safety, and ensure that Instacart and other gig-companies are contributing their fair share toward taxes and benefit programs.

Contact Senators here: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Contact Representatives here: https://www.house.gov/representatives

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