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Instacart is reportedly sending delivery workers anti-union memos ahead of their vote to organize in Illinois

instacart shopper

  • Instacart part-time workers in Skokie, Illinois will vote to unionize on February 1, Vice reported.
  • Ahead of the vote, Instacart's senior operations manager sent employees anti-union memos that warn workers of "expensive union dues."
  • The grocery delivery company employs both part-time employees and independent contractors.
  • The company's workers went on strike and criticized the app over the last two years for slashing wages.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

After over a year of frustration, some Instacart grocery workers will vote to unionize.

Up to 15 Instacart grocery workers in Skokie, a suburb of Chicago, told Vice's Lauren Kaori Gurley they will vote whether to unionize on February 1. The gig app employs part-time shoppers to package groceries for customers on Instacart's app. Instacart also employees independent contractors who delivery groceries.

Instacart part-time workers would unionize with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1546, which represents workers in grocery stores, nursing homes, and packing plants around Illinois. Independent contractors for Instacart, however, are not legally allowed to unionize.

Ahead of their vote, Instacart managers have passed printed memos that encourage workers not to unionize, Vice reports. Memos warn workers of "expensive" union dues and handing over control of their work-lives to UFCW, according to screenshots leaked to Vice.

"I encourage you to look at all of the FACTS and vote 'NO' on February 1st," Chris Nolan, Instacart's senior operations manager, apparently stated in a memo. If the vote passes, the Skokie employees would be the app's first workers to unionize.

Instacart declined to comment to Business Insider on the alleged anti-union memos sent to part-time delivery workers. However, it said that it would recognize any union that formed from the vote.

"We support employee freedom and choice, respect our employees' rights to consider unionization and will honor the outcome of the election process," Instacart said in a statement. 

Instacart workers had criticized the platform for paying part-time workers and independent contractors low wages. In late 2018, the company quietly changed their price model that resulted in significantly reduced wages from a flat rate to a variable — and sometimes inconsistent — pay structure. 

Instacart shoppers went on strike late last year urging the company to raise default tip amounts. The company responded by cutting "quality" bonus pay to high-performing shoppers, Vice reported.

Joe Loftis, a pro-union Instacart worker in Illinois, told Vice he expects the vote to pass in spite of company retaliation.

"I don't think this will be much of a challenge. Workers are treated so badly," Loftis said. "This is going to be a cake walk."

SEE ALSO: These 8 non-union worker organizations are quietly leading the new labor movement

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Instacart is reportedly sending delivery workers anti-union memos ahead of their vote to organize in Illinois


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