Publix deliveries halted as Instacart workers announce nationwide strike

A nationwide strike on Monday, March 30th, to demand that Instacart begin providing its delivery drivers with leave time, preventative supplies such as hand sanitizer, and hazard pay to the tune of an extra $5 per delivery, claims that their shoppers aren’t being paid enough for a job that puts them at high risk to contract the new coronavirus.

Historic City News learned that Instacart has approximately 175,000 shoppers, which are employed as independent contractors. Contractors are generally not afforded benefits such as health insurance or paid leave. Contract workers, also known as gig workers, are generally less expensive for companies to employ and have fewer protections than employees.

“For the past several weeks, Instacart Shoppers and Gig Workers Collective have been urging Instacart to take proper safety precautions. We have been ignored,” the piece says. “Instead, Instacart has turned this pandemic into a PR campaign, portraying itself the hero of families that are sheltered-in-place, isolated, or quarantined. 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.”

The delivery industry has been one of the few to see explosive growth during the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down bars, restaurant dining rooms and many stores in the already struggling retail sector. 

The strike comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. continues growing unabated. As of Sunday evening, there were more than 137,000 cases and 2,414 deaths nationwide.  According to Florida Department of Health data, there were 4,950 confirmed cases as of 6:00 p.m. Sunday: an increase of nearly 25% over 24 hours. DOH also reports the pandemic has killed 59 Floridians.