Published 30 March 2020
Food delivery service, Instacart, employees are threatening to strike if their demands for safer measures and extension of benefits are not met.
March 30, 2020 — During the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing has become clear: Food retail businesses like grocery stores and supermarkets are essential services and the public is increasingly reliant on them to keep their families safe and fed. But what happens when the employees of these essential services aren’t getting what they need to do their job safely? For food delivery service Instacart, employees are threatening to strike if their demands for safety measures and extension of benefits are not met.
Instacart is a food delivery service in which customers can shop from their local grocery stores online. Once their order is placed, a personal shopper uses their own personal vehicle to fulfill the order and deliver it to the customer on the same day. It is considered the Uber of grocery delivery service.
With people wanting to stay home during the pandemic and avoid the grocery store as much as possible, Instacart has seen its sales jump dramatically over the past few weeks. As the pandemic continues to spread, employees of the company are demanding the company do more to protect their safety and health.
Instacart employees are asking the company to provide them with the following needs:
On Sunday, in response to these demands, Instacart stated it would be providing hand sanitizer to all employees and outlined changes it was making to its tip system. The employees have stated that these measures are not enough and are coming way too late.
“Instacart has turned this pandemic into a PR campaign, portraying itself the hero of families that are sheltered-in-place, isolated, or quarantined,” they say in their statement. “Instacart has still not provided essential protections to shoppers on the front lines that could prevent them from becoming carriers, falling ill themselves, or worse.”
In response to the statement, Instacart states, “Our goal is to offer a safe and flexible earnings opportunity to shoppers, while also proactively taking the appropriate precautionary measures to operate safely.” They continue on to emphasize, “We want to underscore that we absolutely respect the rights of shoppers to provide us feedback and voice their concerns. It’s a valuable way for us to continuously make improvements to the shopper experience and we’re committed to supporting this important community during this critical time.”
It remains to be seen what will come of the employee/employer negotiations, and what this will mean for food delivery service going forward during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of writing this article, Instacart employees are still poised to conduct an emergency walk-off on Monday.