Some workers for Target Corp.'s grocery delivery app Shipt weren't taking deliveries Tuesday, protesting what they see as inadequate safety measures and pay for the risks they shoulder by working during the coronavirus outbreak. It's the latest in a string of walkouts, sick-outs and wildcat strikes by frequently low-paid workers whose jobs are now deemed essential.
Grocery services are in high demand as people avoid visiting stores for fear of contracting or spreading the coronavirus. Shipt users can order groceries and household items from Target and some other retail chains, including CVS, Petco and Costco, and the app's team of independent contractors go to the stores, do the shopping and deliver the items.
Fear among workers about personal protective equipment mounted over the weekend. On Saturday, the coordinator of the White House's coronavirus task force urged the public to go out only for essential needs. "This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store," Dr. Deborah Birx said.
Leaders of the Shipt protest said in a blog post Monday that they want workers to get hazard pay of $5 per order; more personal protective equipment; a more transparent pay structure; and two weeks of paid sick leave if they are "too high risk to work" or have a doctor's note advising them to stay home, regardless of whether they have tested positive for the virus.
Several Shipt delivery workers said the company's transition from a commission-based model to a new pay algorithm has significantly decreased their earnings. They are advocating for a return to the commission-based model. The company additionally cut pay on canceled orders beginning last week, prompting complaints from workers, The Hill reported.
Shipt sent an email Friday night to workers who go into stores and assemble customers' orders, saying it would provide them with gloves and face masks within two weeks. The notice came on the heels of guidance issued Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending the use of face coverings in areas with community spread of the coronavirus.
"We've been yelling about this for weeks, and to get that email on Friday that we may have to wait another two weeks? ... That was honestly one of the biggest slaps in the face," said Willy Solis, a Shipt delivery worker in Dallas who helped organize Tuesday's action.
Business on 04/08/2020
Print Headline: Target's delivery workers push for more protection, pay