Today I published an explainer piece for TalkPoverty about the Instacart strike that started today. Shoppers are walking off the nationwide and not coming back until their demands of complimentary personal protective equipment such as hand sanitizer, extended paid sick leave for all Shoppers with a preexisting condition or whose doctors have advised them to isolate/quarantine, and an added $5 of hazard pay per order.
Instacart’s usual playbook is to hedge and draw attention to some other new policy they’re rolling out that happens to always come right after Shoppers make some kind of demand, and this strike was no exception. On Sunday, after Shoppers had spent hte weekend hyping up fellow strikers and spreading the word about Monday’s strike, Instacart PR put out a press release saying that they were working with a third party to create hand sanitizer and disseminate it to Shoppers, and that they were extended paid leave to workers who had tested positive for coronavirus through May 6.
As Vanessa Bain said, “We all have the potential of becoming vectors. Everyone’s a stakeholder. The stakes are very different from normal working conditions. Nobody should be against the idea of workers having safety measures to keep their customers alive and themselves safe.”
You can read that at Talk Poverty, here.
Bain also told me that she hoped the Instacart strike would be a moment of inspiration for other sector workers and lead to a general strike.
Here is a list of workers either striking, walking off, or threatening some sort of collective action as of today, March 30:
-Amazon warehouse workers (NPR)
-Whole Foods grocers (CommonDreams)
-Pittsburgh sanitation workers (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
-GE workers are demanding they be allowed to make ventilators while their factories idle (VICE)
-University of California-Santa Cruz graduate student workers (I wrote about this for The Strikewave back in January)
-Bath Iron workers in Maine (WGME)
-Bus drivers in Detroit and Alabama (NYT)