Instacart workers plan to strike amid growing coronavirus crisis

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Instacart employee Monica Ortega uses her cellphone to scan barcodes showing proof of purchase for the customer while picking up groceries from a supermarket for delivery on March 19, 2020 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – Instacart shoppers are planning to strike, demanding additional protection against the looming health and financial threat of COVID-19

The grocery delivery service has become a vital resource for some as the novel coronavirus continues to spread in the United States, the country with the most cases in the world.

The gig workers who risk infection to bring groceries to customers’ homes, are demanding an extra $5 “hazard pay” fee added to each order, paid safety equipment (hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes/sprays and soap) and an “extension and expansion of pay for workers impacted by COVID-19,” according to a post in Medium by Instacart shoppers and labor activism group Gig Workers Collective.

The strike, first reported by Vice, is planned to start Monday March 30, and will continue until Instacart meets the demands.

“Instacart has a well established history of exploiting its Shoppers, one that extends years back before our current crisis,” the post reads. “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.”

News of the strike comes just days after Instacart announced plans to hire 300,000 shoppers who would work as independent contractors, more than doubling the company’s current workforce.

Instacart hasn’t responded to requests for comment, but did issue a statement on Medium hours after the strike plan was published.

Instacart said they are “immensely grateful” to their shoppers and announced the company is extending their policy of giving 14 days of pay for workers diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in mandatory quarantine.

There will also be additional bonus payments for shoppers, shift leads and site managers “based on the number of hours worked from March 15 through April 15.” The bonus range from $25 to $200.

See more from Instacart’s Medium post here.

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