Open letter to Fidji Simo, Instacart’s CEO

Dear Fidji Simo,

Last week, you wrote an open letter to your shopper community, asking for suggestions to improve the shopper experience. As you and the gig worker community know, Apoorva Mehta has created a notoriously tumultuous relationship with his workforce despite the fact that gig workers are central to the company’s continuing operations.

For the past five years, we’ve led walk offs for the most basic concessions — reintroducing tips, no longer using tips to supplement pay, hazard pay and providing PPE during a pandemic. These are simple requests, but each time the company gives us one thing, they take something else away. Workers are tired of this endless game of give and take.

During the pandemic, Instacart let its shoppers know just how little they’re valued — we had to walk off the job for the most basic PPE, had to publicly shame the company into providing 14 days of COVID pay to shoppers who tested positive while working, the company threatened to leave Seattle if they were forced to pay an additional $2 per order hazard pay, and Instacart spent tens of millions of dollars in California to ensure their workers wouldn’t receive proper employee benefits and protections via Prop22. As a result, Instacart’s relationship with shoppers is as strained as ever.

In order to start mending your relationship with shoppers, these five most crucial issues must be fixed.

  1. Instacart shoppers must be paid by order, and not by batch. In 2017, when Apoorva Mehta publicly apologized for stealing 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 $7 base. This is effectively a 76% cut to base pay, and is unacceptable.

Since you’ve said you’re looking for feedback to improve the shoppers experience, we wanted to give you the opportunity to prove that you intend to mend this severely damaged relationship.

In addition to finally addressing these crucial issues most affecting our workforce, we look forward to you keeping your word and responding to the emails your shoppers sent you, and we also invite you to meet with Gig Workers Collective and our members to build a more productive working relationship in which we can discuss these changes and others.

Signed,

Gig Workers Collective

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