By Sahid Fawaz

The gig economy is making executives and investors very, very rich. But much of it is at the cost of the workers.

Slate.com reports:

"Instacart, the same-day grocery delivery service startup, faces a labor dispute from a portion of its hundreds of thousands of part-time and contract workers over wages that allegedly can fall as low as $1 per hour.

But rather than filing a lawsuit, which has been the method of choice for protesting the company in the past, some workers planned to sign up for shifts and then decline orders in a 'no delivery day' strike.

The strike, which began on Sunday and is set to end on Monday, was kindled in a closed Facebook group where over 5,300 Instacart shoppers commiserate and coordinate campaigns, according to Ars Technica. The biggest grievances seem to stem from inconsistencies in the company’s commission system, which uses an algorithm to calculate payments for deliveries and can vary based on the date and the region. Some of the highest pay rates can be as much as $20 per hour, a worker in Houston told Ars. But they can also reportedly fall to $1 per hour in areas like Evansville, Indiana. A recent change in the tipping system, which some say makes it harder to pay a deliverer directly, have allegedly also caused some wages to drop.

Workers also receive a fee for every type of item in the order, usually around $0.40 per item. Yet calculations for the fee do not take into account the weight or number of units; workers claim they often have to transport heavy items, like cases of water, from the store to delivery locations that can only be accessed by walking up stairs. The inconvenience of delivering these items is exacerbated by the fact that most workers do not have large cars or dollies."

For the rest of the story, check out the full Slate.com piece here.

Comments   

0 #2 Molly 2017-11-20 18:28
Ah yes. Upon re-reading:
The $20/hour worker in Houston is an "in-store" Shift Leader. He is an Instacart EMPLOYEE. The disgruntled workers are independent contractors. No Instacart independent contractor is paid by the hour.

Seems like the author was trying to paraphrase an article from the San Francisco newspaper and got a little sloppy with it.
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0 #1 Molly 2017-11-20 18:20
Glad to see the coverage, but need to make a correction. The $1 per hour in Evansville should actually be $1.00 per delivery. I think the same may be true for LA (delivery, not hour), but I'm not sure that $20 is their current rate.

We are often offered very small orders that are 10, 15, 20 miles away. At $1/delivery, .40/item, & no tip, it often works out to less than the federal minimum wage, and that's BEFORE subtracting mileage. As for the deception: On the checkout page it says "Service (10%) /change/. A reasonable conclusion is that "Service" = tip. A customer who is ok w/10% is reasonable won't click on "change" and won't know that "service" doesn't mean "tip" & that it doesn't go to the shopper. Worse, for markets that pre-date the addition of the service fee, that Service (10%) line actually REPLACED one that said Tip (10%).
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