USA: Instacart workers strike over changes to tipping policy; Includes company comments

In November 2019, several thousand Instacart workers went on a 72-hour strike, demanding that the company change the default tip function on its app.

Currently, customers can choose to leave either a $2 or a 5% tip for workers, on top of the 5% service fee charged with every order. The workers allege that this service fee is misleading, and that the 5% default tip option cuts into their wages. They are now demanding that the app return to offering a 10% tip, as it did previously.

Following the strike, Instacart announced it would be eliminating the $3 bonus given to workers who received 5 star ratings from customers, stating that the bonus was not improving quality. This led to allegations from workers that this deduction was a means of retaliating against the strike.

Further comments from Instacart can be found below.

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11 November 2019

USA: Workers accuse Instacart of 'rebuke' against strikers after eliminating bonus

"Instacart Cuts 'Quality' Bonus After Workers Go on 3-Day Strike", 8 November 2019

...several thousand workers who shuttle groceries on the app Instacart went on a 3-day national strike, demanding the app change it’s default what workers say is a rebuke to their organizing, Instacart declared that it will eliminate a $3 “quality” bonus given to shoppers who receive 5 star ratings from customers...

...“[We] found that the [quality bonus] did not meaningfully improve quality. As a result we will no longer be offering the quality bonus beginning next week,” an email Instacart sent to its workers on Thursday and reviewed by Motherboard said.

Many veteran Instacart workers rely on the “quality bonus” perk as a significant part of their earnings, which can account for up to 40 percent of earnings, Vanessa Bain, an Instacart shopper...told Motherboard...

...Instacart did not respond to a request for comment. 

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8 November 2019

USA: Instacart workers strike over wage cuts following adjustments to tipping policy

Author: April Glaser, Slate

"Instacart Workers Are Striking Because of the App’s User Interface", 5 November 2019

Several thousand workers who ferry groceries for Instacart are on...a 72-hour strike over how the on-demand delivery app pays them. Instacart’s “shoppers” ...have a problem with how the platform manages tipping:

The default in the app is for users to leave either a $2 or a 5 percent tip for the shopper on top of the 5 percent service fee that Instacart charges every order. The workers allege that this service fee is misleading and that the 5 percent default tip option has cut into their take-home wages—which they say have shrunk because the app previously suggested a tip of 10 percent, and the company didn’t charge a service fee...

...another crucial design choice might be that the app doesn’t indicate that the tip it suggests is only 5 percent; while users have the option to manually enter a higher tip, they may not realize that, by percentage, the default is paltry...

...Instacart has told journalists, “We take the feedback of the shopper community very seriously and remain committed to listening to and using that feedback to improve their experience.”...


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