MINNEAPOLIS — Gig workers on Target’s delivery platform Shipt plan to walk off the job Tuesday, April 7, over claims that they are not being protected and paid enough during the coronavirus pandemic.
Shipt is a gig economy company that Target bought in December 2017 for $550 million in cash. Shipt workers shop and deliver orders from Target, as well as many grocery stores.
Demand for grocery delivery from companies like Shipt has skyrocketed over the past month, providing more workers with a stable income while also putting them at risk of contracting the virus.
In a blog post Monday, a group of Shipt shoppers said they will walk off until their demands are met and urged customers to boycott the delivery platform on Friday “in a showing of solidarity.”
The walk-off would be the second by gig workers in just over week. Some Instacart shoppers walked off the job or didn’t report to the work across the U.S. March 30 in protest of the company allegedly not giving them enough protections and pay.
On Monday, the Shipt shoppers released a set of demands to Minneapolis-based Target, including $5 of hazard pay per order; an expansion of the company’s paid 14-day COVID-19 sick leave policy; a reversion to an original pay policy for canceled orders; and more “basic” safety precautions.
While noting how Shipt said last week that it would provide gloves and masks to all workers within the next two weeks, the group said “it’s not nearly enough.” They said they had asked for protection two weeks prior, and that they also want hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to “help curb the spread of this historic pandemic.”
A Target spokeswoman said Monday that Shipt will provide hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to workers in the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus and also to those who have been the most active over the past month. Shipt has not been able to provide protective gear earlier because of availability, she said.
Changes to the canceled order pay policy were aimed at making it more convenient for the workers; it is now automated instead of a manual process, the spokeswoman said. Workers will receive a minimum of $5 per canceled order, she said.
But the group of Shipt shoppers said the change in canceled order pay is still a pay cut of at least 50 percent from previous payouts that averaged from $10 to $20 and as high as $30. The Target spokeswoman said she did not have the numbers Monday to verify or deny that claim.
Last week, Instacart made some changes two days after workers walked off the job. The San Francisco-based company said they would provide safety kits for shoppers that include face masks, hand sanitizer and thermometers. It also announced the launch of its new COVID-19 resource center to share details about how the company is responding to the pandemic.
But Instacart did not respond to the other big demands by the workers — hazard pay of $5 per order and an extension and expansion of pay for workers affected by the coronavirus.