A large swath of shoppers are being axed, including the company’s only unionized workers.
In an effort to scale up their accessibility, shopping service Instacart announced that they would be offering a new “Partner Pick” model to their retail partners. Retailers that opt into this model would utilize their own employees, backed by Instacart’s app and firmware, to fulfill customer orders, as opposed to Instacart’s usual model of using third-party shoppers. However, this shift comes at a cost: at least 1,900 Instacart shoppers will be laid off.
“As a result of some grocers transitioning to a Partner Pick model, we’ll be winding down our in-store operations at select retailer locations over the coming months,” an Instacart spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement Thursday. “We know this is an incredibly challenging time for many as we move through the COVID-19 crisis, and we’re doing everything we can to support in-store shoppers through this transition.”
Instacart has promised to transfer any displaced shoppers to other retailers in their area, provided said retailers have work available. Depending on how long they have been working with the company, some shoppers may be eligible for severance packages. Retailers will also be able to continue using the previous system of third-party shoppers if they don’t want to use their own employees.
One aspect of this mass-layoff that has drawn some suspicion is the fact that all ten of Instacart’s employees that are members of a worker’s union are included in the layoff. Instacart has claimed unionization status had no impact on their decision, but the unions aren’t convinced.
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“Instacart firing the only unionized workers at the company and destroying the jobs of nearly 2,000 dedicated frontline workers in the middle of this public health crisis, is simply wrong,” the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1546 said in a statement. “As the union for Instacart grocery workers in the Chicago area and grocery workers nationwide, UFCW is calling on Instacart to immediately halt these plans and to put the health of their customers first by protecting the jobs of these brave essential workers at a time when our communities need them most.”