Instacart employees go on nationwide strike amid rapid increase of COVID-19 cases

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ST. CHARLES, MO – Instacart is an online shopping app that provides same-day grocery pick-up and delivery in communities throughout the United States and Canada. Today, over 150,000 “shoppers” participated in a nationwide strike in response to the country’s rapid increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases. 

Christian Metheney is a part-time Instacart shopper. Although she did not partake in the strike, she can see why it is happening. 

“I totally understand. Even people in my own family are like, ‘Umm, you should probably stop doing that so much because you’re putting yourself at risk [of catching the virus],” said Christian Metheney. 

Metheney says she has taken the necessary precautions to ensure she and the Instacart users she serves are as safe as possible, but sanitizing supplies aren’t easy to buy these days, and she wonders what she will do when she’s all out.

“The moment I get in my car I put hand sanitizer on. The moment I leave my car I put hand sanitizer on. It’s a lot of hand sanitizer, and the hard part is, you can’t find it anywhere. So, when I’m out of my hand sanitizer I’m kind of worried about what I’m going to do,” said Metheney. 

Instacart released a statement on Sunday prior to the strike saying, in part:

“In the last four weeks, Instacart has introduced more than 15 new product features, new health guidelines, new shopper bonuses, new sick leave policies, and new safety supplies, as well as pay for those affected by COVID-19. Our team has an unwavering commitment to safely serve our shoppers in the wake of COVID-19, and we’ll continue to share additional updates over the coming days, weeks and months ahead as we further support this important community.” – Instacart 

According to the full statement, Instacart plans on providing their in-store shoppers with new health and safety supplies, launch a new customer tip default system to ensure employees are getting adequately compensated for their services, access to sick paid time off, and additional bonuses through April 15th to better support employees financially. 

The strike, along with a lack of goods in grocery stores, have caused Instacart users to see a delay in their orders. What is supposed to be same-day delivery has now turned into a three or four-day wait. 

Metheney questions whether the extra money is worth putting herself at risk of catching COVID-19. 

“The more cases that come up though kind of worry me a lot because I was like, okay, I’m fairly healthy, but now I hear people my age are getting it and even younger. It’s kind of scary.”

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