Instacart workers will strike over lack of COVID-19 protections

They're requesting supplies like hand sanitizer and hazard pay.

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FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images
FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images

Fed up with the company's response to the coronavirus, Instacart workers announced today that they'll go on strike beginning Monday. They will not return to work until their demands are met, Instacart Shoppers and the Gig Workers Collective wrote in a blog post. Their dissent is not uncommon. It's reflective of growing dissatisfaction among employees, especially gig workers, who must continue working in public settings while corporate employees work from the safety of their homes.

Among their demands, Instacart Shoppers are requesting protective supplies like hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. They're also asking for hazard pay -- an additional $5 per order -- and an extension of pay for workers impacted by COVID-19.

The deadline to qualify for those benefits was originally April 8th, but the company has pushed that back through May 8th. Today, Instacart also announced bonuses, based on the numbers of hours worked and ranging from $25 to $200.

"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," Shoppers wrote. "...They are profiting astronomically off of us literally risking our lives, all while refusing to provide us with effective protection, meaningful pay, and meaningful benefits."

Instacart, like Uber and Lyft, has said it will provide workers who contract COVID-19 or are forced to quarantine with two weeks of pay. It has also introduced no-contact deliveries. But workers say this is not enough. At the same time, the company is struggling to keep up with demand, and earlier this week it said it will hire an additional 300,000 "full-service" contractors.

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