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Instacart Shoppers’ Micro-Action Day 6: Contact Local Politicians

Today we are contacting our local politicians asking them to help us hold Instacart accountable for misclassification of workers. Below you’ll find two templates — one is for California workers, which urges action on behalf of AB5. The other is for all other states. Copy the appropriate letter and customize it, then contact your local politicians using the contact information here.

Members of Congress and elected officials at the state level receive a lot of messages every week, but staffers (and often the officials themselves) DO read them and they DO use that information to understand their constituents’ needs. This only takes a few minutes of your time and it can go a long way toward achieving our goal of holding Instacart accountable.

CALIFORNIA:

Hello (SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE) (INSERT NAME HERE),

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.

As you know this year California passed the historic AB5, which codified the Dynamex decision made by California’s Supreme Court. AB5 was signed into law by Governor Newsom this September. AB5 is bold and progressive, but will only ever be as impactful as it’s enforcement. I am calling upon you to defend and enforce AB5, a law that has unanimous consent among all three branches of our state government.

So called gig companies such as Instacart have already pledged a combined total of $110,000,000 to fund a ballot measure to carve themselves out of our democratic process. Legislators must send a clear and strong message that corporations are not above the law and denounce this attempt to undermine the legislative process and judicial process.

Defense and enforcement of AB5 is necessary for proper classification of Instacart 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 (study findings can be found here:

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 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.

Best Regards,

(INSERT YOUR NAME HERE)

OTHER STATES:

Hello (SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE) (INSERT NAME HERE),

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 (study findings can be found here: https://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/wp_2019-1.pdf).

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 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.

Best Regards,

(INSERT YOUR NAME HERE)

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