Instacart promises to provide workers coronavirus health kits after strike

Instacart promises to provide workers coronavirus health kits after strike

Grocery delivery service Instacart on Thursday announced plans to distribute health and safety kits to its shoppers after they walked off their jobs earlier this week.

The company says it will provide each full-service shopper with a reusable face mask, hand sanitizer and a thermometer.

Instacart also launched a resource center with info about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

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“We’re singularly focused on the health and safety of our shopper community," Instacart President Nilam Ganenthiran said in a statement.

"Our teams have been working around the clock over the last few weeks to proactively secure personal protective equipment like hand sanitizer and face masks, without taking away valuable resources from healthcare workers given inventory delays and global supply scarcity," the statement reads. 

While free protective equipment was one of the demands made by the Instacart shoppers that stopped taking orders on Monday, Thursday's changes do not meet the other requests strikers made.

The Gig Workers Collective, the labor activism group that led Monday's walk off, called the new protective equipment "a step in the right direction, but still a far cry from adequate."

"In other industries, some workers who do have proper PPE are still contracting COVID-19 or spreading it despite their best efforts," they said in a statement, referring to personal protective equipment. "Some Instacart Shoppers, even under the best of conditions and with PPE, will still contract COVID-19. There is still no meaningful progress in protections for the Shoppers who will fall ill."

Demand for grocery delivery has exploded as more states and cities recommend individuals stay home to slow the spread of coronavirus, but while workers have had more opportunities to work they've also been put at risk of contracting the disease.

Instacart workers had demanded hazard pay of $5 per order and an extension and expansion of pay for workers affected by the coronavirus.

After the strike was announced, Instacart said it would dole out bonus payments between $25 and $200 to in-store shoppers based on hours worked between March and April 15 and extend the deadline to qualify for two weeks of paid sick leave if diagnosed with COVID-19 or told to quarantine.