Instacart will always find a way...to pay as little as possible.

Instacart’s new pay structure was released Tuesday — and yeah, it looks like we finally got them to stop taking customers’ tips to pay workers.

But the pay Instacart is offering now doesn’t get us where we need to be.

Workers are reporting some major issues with the updated payment structure. It looks like Instacart has, yet again, created loopholes in their own policies to get away with paying extremely low wages — often far below what a minimum-wage job would pay.

When Instacart released their new pay structure, they promised to stop lowering workers’ pay based on how much customers were tipping. And they agreed that they would pay out at least $7-10 per “batch” (job).

But they failed to mention that they were changing the definition of a “batch”...so now they’re paying that $7 floor even for trips that involve shopping and delivering to two, three, or even four customers.

Or that they’re asking people to drive twenty or thirty miles out of their way to take those jobs, with no extra pay.

We still don’t have what we really need: transparency about why we’re getting paid what we’re getting paid. And pay that covers expenses (like gas and car maintenance) and comes out to a reasonable amount for all the time we spend working.

Workers are still facing a black-box algorithm that seems to pay out arbitrary — and low — amounts for large jobs. We know it’s possible for Instacart to pay more consistently, because that’s what they always did in previous pay structures. Before the pay cuts they made last November, Instacart paid a per-item commission of $.40 — PLUS they paid for each customer’s order, rather than grouping three or four orders together and paying as if they were one. And that meant workers got paid more when we did more work. Without standards like item commission and pay per order, there’s no transparency.

Paying more for more work seems like an obvious thing to do — and it’s something workers need to see now.

But Instacart will always find a way to make it sound like they’re giving us what we want, while figuring out a way to pay as little as possible. And as long as they can get away with it, they’ll always choose to keep us in the dark about why we’re getting paid what we’re getting paid.

That’s why we need outside accountability for Instacart and all the other gig companies out there like it. Workers are doing two things to hold Instacart accountable in the coming weeks:

  1. Using these calculators to track data and find out how Instacart is actually paying, instead of what they say they’re paying.

  2. Signing on to the #PayUp campaign — three bold demands for laws that would make sure companies like Instacart can’t get away with low pay, tip theft, and black-box algorithms.

Thousands of workers, customers, and supporters speaking out forced Instacart to change their policies. But even still, they’ve shown that they’re still going to find ways to mess with our pay.

We need to go bigger — and that means banding together with workers on other apps, building momentum for new laws that would secure basic rights for gig workers, and telling gig companies it’s time to #PayUp.

We're telling the State Legislature to pass secure scheduling because our time counts!

The big food & retail chains don’t seem to love the idea of making our schedules work for us, too. They’re even sending general managers and lobbyists to tell the state legislature that despite all the evidence, workers don’t really have a problem with their work schedules. That’s why it’s so important that we show up and speak out about the realities of unstable and unpredictable work schedules. They need to hear that our time counts too!

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Regarding Instacart's statement today

“In the space of two weeks, Instacart workers came together, sparked a national media sensation, and transformed the entire pay model of a $7 billion corporation.

Instacart finally admitted they’ve been taking tips. They finally admitted that 80¢ isn’t enough. And workers even won backpay for the tips that were taken.

It’s not over. Workers continue to call for a transparent pay structure so they can verify that what the company says they’re going to do is what they’re actually doing.“

The lobby group for the chain restaurant industry is coming to Olympia for their annual gala next week

A secure scheduling bill was officially introduced in the Washington State Legislature! The bill would ensure people who work for large fast food, coffee, restaurant & retail chains in our state get balanced, flexible schedules that include advance notice, access to additional hours, input into work schedules, and more flexibility to accommodate caregiving, schooling, and other major life needs.

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Instacart's "transparent" new pay structure: underpayment, tip theft, and black-box algorithms

“If customers knew Instacart was using their tips to lower the amount the company has to spend on labor, they would be furious. That's the customers' hard-earned money — they're trying to use it to tip workers in addition to Instacart's pay. They're not tipping so Instacart can pay workers less, they're tipping so workers can make more money. But Instacart is using those tips to pay wages, and it's not OK.”

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