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6 Apr 2020

Noam Scheiber & Kate Conger, The New York Times

USA: Independent contractors working for Instacart stage novel protest against inadequate COVID-19 safety measures

"Strikes at Instacart and Amazon Over Coronavirus Health Concerns", 30 Mar 2020

Signalling both growing anxiety and growing solidarity brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, workers... across the country are protesting what they see as inadequate safety measures and insufficient pay for the risks... [A] contingent of workers who fulfill orders for the grocery delivery service Instacart stayed off the job, demanding greater pay and better access to paid leave and disinfectant....  The company denied any effect from the action. “We’ve seen absolutely no impact to Instacart’s operations,” a company representative said, adding that there were 40 percent more people working to fulfill orders — or as Instacart calls them, shoppers — compared with the comparable period a week earlier. In a post..., a group called the Gig Workers Collective...organized the strike,...  Some workers said they were sympathetic to the goals of the protest but reluctant to take part... [as they were] concerned about losing...livelihood if [they] were to walk off... Mr. Rosenfeld, a sociologist,... who studies labor, said he was skeptical that workers could capitalize on the current...frustration absent favorable legislation that enables organizing, a more accommodating response from employers or more robust assistance from...existing unions...