Instacart Workers May Go on Strike Today Over Coronavirus Concerns

updated Mar 30, 2020
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Credit: Instacart

If you were planning on ordering your groceries through Instacart in the next couple days, you may want to hold off. Due to recent company issues with paid sick leave and safety measures, Instacart employees are set to strike starting today, Monday, March 30. They will reject orders from shoppers until the company gives them the benefits they are asking for to keep them as secure as possible.

Their demands include an additional $5 per order, free safety gear (hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, soap, and more), and paid sick leave for those with pre-existing health conditions.

Right now, gig workers are offered the standard two-week sick leave and only if they have in fact tested positive for COVID-19 and provide that proof to the company. This is a challenge since tests are limited and, in many situations, it’s encouraged to skip testing and manage symptoms at home to avoid potential spread to others. What’s more, the offer for paid leave also only lasts until April 8.

“While Instacart’s corporate employees are working from home, Instacart’s [gig workers] are working on the frontlines in the capacity of first responders,” Vanessa Bain, an Instacart worker and a lead organizer of the Instacart strike, said to VICE’s Motherboard. “Instacart’s corporate employees are provided with health insurance, life insurance, and paid time off and [are] also eligible for sick pay and paid family leave. By contrast its [gig workers], who are putting their lives on the line to maintain daily operations are afforded none of these protections. Without [us], Instacart will grind to a halt. We deserve and demand better.”

As of now, it’s unclear how long the strike will last; workers say it will go on until Instacart agrees to the terms.