Employee or Independent Contractor?

Instacart’s Independent Contractors Score Big Win After Threatening Strike 

instacart-website-screenshot

 

From sfist.com, Jack Morse reports that Instacart shoppers started to organize online after Instacart announced changes in the way shoppers would be paid.  After hearing from shoppers, Instacart declined to institutes the objectionable changes.  Jack writes:

“We recently announced a change to the way we pay shoppers to help them earn more on busy days, have a greater sense for what they will earn each week and receive a more consistent level of pay,” read the announcement. “After announcing this change we heard from shoppers that they liked most of the changes but wanted to retain the ability for customers to tip online. We understand their concern and have decided to continue to accept tips.”This marks a quick turnaround from just a few weeks ago when Tech Crunch reported that Instacart would do away with the option for customers to tip shoppers within the platform. “Our current structure has shoppers being really reliant on tips for earnings,” Instacart COO Ravi Gupta told the publication. “It could work better for our shoppers. The reason is, 20% of our customers don’t tip. That’s a really tough experience of or shoppers.”This argument didn’t go over well with the workers themselves, who likely saw the 10 percent service fee to be collected by Instacart, and then distributed to workers, in lieu of a tip directly to the shoppers as the company yet again taking money out of their pockets. “I get a lot of big tips,” a shopper named Matt told BuzzFeed. “That’s what I rely on. I knew it wasn’t going to be in my best interests.”And so, echoing moves by Uber drivers in the past, employees began to talk of a strike. However, as independent contractors, they could quickly and easily be replaced should they not show up to work. Knowing this, they proposed an entirely different approach: Essentially DDOS’ing the Instacart app with shift availability postings.

Read the full story at Instacart’s Independent Contractors Score Big Win After Threatening Strike : SFist

This stories shows that workers can organize and take collective action even if they aren’t employees; and that the internet is a powerful tool for workers if they want to organize and they are not located near one another.

 

 

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