Instacart dismisses all employees who have voted for the union, Motherboard reports. The news comes as the company shuts down stores in some grocery stores amid the coronavirus pandemic and doubles pickups on the street.
The layoffs affect 10 unionized workers at a grocery store called Mariano, in addition to other Instacart employees. The group in Skokie, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, voted last year with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1546 (UFCW). It was a milestone victory for concert workers and represented “the first time employees in technology companies who predominantly rely on contract work have formed a union to collectively negotiate better pay, benefits and working conditions,”
The employees were in the process of negotiating their first contract when the news of the layoffs hit. “These layoffs are absolutely discouraging for any gig worker trying to do anything to make these jobs better,” a union worker said. Motherboard. They said they were fighting for health insurance and vacation time in their original contract.
UFCW told Motherboard the layoffs will affect nearly 2,000 of the company’s 10,000 grocery workers.
The news could have a cooling effect on other organizational efforts from Instacart employees across the country. The company’s management has already shown its hostility to the organizers and has run a union-supporting campaign that included bringing leaders to the grocery store in Skokie to convince workers to vote against the union.
Although the pandemic has changed the company’s in – store purchasing model, it has also led to a significant increase in the demand for grocery delivery. This year, Instacart plans to go public, an event that could value the company at about $ 30 billion.
The company announced the layoffs in a blog post about new models for picking up groceries. Instacart said it would transfer some of the affected customers to other grocery stores and provide “transition assistance” to people looking for work. “We know this is an incredibly challenging time for many as we move through the COVID-19 crisis, and we are doing everything we can to support store customers through this transition,” the blog post said.
According to Motherboardworkers could receive as little as $ 250 in retirement.
Instacart would not tell The edge whether union employees will be among those being transferred. The layoffs are scheduled to take place between March and June, according to Motherboard.
In a statement sent to The edge, a spokesman for Instacart wrote:
As a result of some merchants switching to a Partner Pick model, we will phase out our store operations at selected retail locations in the coming months. We know this is an incredibly challenging time for many as we move through the COVID-19 crisis, and we are doing everything we can to support store customers through this transition. This includes transferring affected shoppers to other retail locations where we have Instacart shopper roles in store, working closely with our retail partners to hire affected shoppers for roles they wish to fill, and providing shoppers with transition assistance as they explore new work opportunities. We also provide all affected customers separation packages based on their time at Instacart.
The statement was taken directly from the company’s public blog post.