Instacart Workers Threaten To Strike During COVID-19 Pandemic

Mar 30, 2020, 8:57 PM | Updated: 9:32 pm

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – Some grocery delivery workers are threatening to strike, saying they deserve hazard pay and better protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instacart is one delivery service Utah families are turning to during the outbreak, delivering from Costco, Sam’s Club, Smith’s and other locations across Utah.

However, workers threatened to strike Monday, citing higher job risks as demand rises.

Hailey Frame is one of about 200,000 Instacart “shoppers” nationwide and said business has been booming lately.

“Yeah, it’s very very busy,” Frame said.

She said working as a shopper for Instacart helps with family bills and the hours are flexible.

Hailey Frame is one of about 200,000 Instacart “shoppers” nationwide and said business has been booming lately.

“I like Instacart, I really do, but it’s definitely harder during COVID,” she said.

In some parts of the country, shoppers like Frame are striking, and she understood why.

“I’ll get a list of people (to shop for) and half the time we can’t their stuff because everything is all out,” she said.

Now, there was the added exposure on the grocery store front lines.

“We’re risking our own health, but if you have extra family members in the house, you’re also risking their health,” she said.

Frame said many of her customers are still asking her to bring the groceries inside their homes.

“It’s kind of hard for me because you don’t want to say ‘no’ obviously,” she said.

Instacart has now made doorstop delivery a default option when an order is placed.

Frame relies heavily on the tips and thinks it’s time for Instacart to pony up more cash.

“Instacart is getting paid a ton right now,” she said. “They should offer some of that extra income to shoppers.”

Frame said so far, she’s received no sanitizing supplies from the company.

“Yeah, it’s all on the shopper to stay safe and sanitize,” she said.

If a shopper gets sick, Instacart is offering up to 14 days of paid sick leave. However, they first have to test positive for COVID-19.

Frame was trying to keep going, but at some point, she may need to walk away for good.

“It’s just really hard right now,” she said.

On Monday, Instacart officials announced the company is ordering hand sanitizer for shoppers that should arrive sometime in next week. They are also making tipping adjustments, but some shoppers said that it’s not enough.

In a statement posted online, Instacart said:

“We’ve been evaluating the COVID-19 crisis minute-by-minute to provide real-time support for Instacart shoppers and customers throughout North America. We’ve been taking proactive steps during this critical time to support all shoppers as you continue to serve as household heroes for families.”

Coronavirus Resources  

How Do I Prevent It?  

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:  

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick  
  • Avoid touching your face  
  • Stay home when you are sick  
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash  
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.  

How To Get Help  

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.   

Additional Resources  

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at 

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Instacart Workers Threaten To Strike During COVID-19 Pandemic