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Instacart Shoppers Plan Nationwide Strike On Monday Over Coronavirus Concerns

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Instacart shoppers say they've been busier than ever during the coronavirus pandemic as many are making grocery runs nearly everyday, but the associated health risks have also become greater than ever.

"Any shopper that does go out, they need to know yeah, they are risking their health and they should be paid and properly given the things that they need to do so," said Instacart shopper Sarah Polito.

The upstate New York resident says the nationwide strike will be more like an invisible picket line. Instacart workers say they won't use the app and hope that shoppers join them in doing so, so that the company starts to hear their demands.

Polito is part of a group called Gig Workers Collective, which is calling for the nationwide strike Monday. Among the demands are providing workers with personal protective equipment (PPE), providing at minimum hand sanitizer, as well as an extra $5 per order in hazard pay.

The San Francisco-based delivery app responded Sunday, saying it would distribute health and safety supplies to its full-service workers. They will also launch a new tip setting to help shoppers earn higher, consistent tips.

The company also said new COVID-19 measures include no-contact deliveries and a month-long extension of a policy giving 14 days of paid leave to workers diagnosed with coronavirus or those who've been ordered to self-isolate.


In a statement to KPIX, Instacart said:

"The health and safety of our entire community — shoppers, customers, and employees — is our first priority. Our goal is to offer a safe and flexible earnings opportunity to shoppers, while also proactively taking the appropriate precautionary measures to operate safely. 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. We've made a number of significant enhancements to our products and offerings over the last few weeks that demonstrate Instacart's unwavering commitment to prioritizing the health and safety of the entire Instacart community. And, we will continue to make additional updates over the coming days, weeks and months."

"We've been asking for sanitizer for weeks. They didn't address a lot of the other demands that we had, such as the hazard pay," said Polito.

The group called Instacart's response "a sick joke" in a post on Medium, and said the strike is still on. The group said the average pay per order is well under $10 and workers should not be risking their lives for pocket change.

"To see them exploit their workers the way that they are and just treat them the way that they are during a crisis, it speaks volumes about them," said Polito. "I want to continue to fight for all the other shoppers out there the ones that are too scared to speak up."

Meanwhile, Instacart is also trying to hire more than 300,000 workers, more than double its workforce. The company said orders have surged by 150% year-over-year, in the past weeks.

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