Gig workers have created a tool to offer mutual aid during COVID-19 pandemic

Despite cities and states across the nation ordering people to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, gig workers are still out there delivering food to people and giving them rides for essential errands. Some companies have begun offering paid sick leave to workers, but there’s more to be done, according to Gig Workers Collective.

Led by two Instacart worker-activists, Vanessa Bain and Sarah Clarke (a pseudonym to protect her identity), Gig Workers Collective has created a mutual aid tool for their fellow gig workers.

“Between the lack of financial security (no sick leave), the number of workers living week to week, and the inability for some workers to take time off due to low income, gig workers are some of the most vulnerable dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak,” the site states.

The map enables workers to connect with each other around resources, help running errands or simply emotional support during these times. It’s a simple tool, but one that could have an outsized impact during the pandemic. Using a Google Form, gig workers can specify if they need help or are able to offer help, and where they are located. Clarke said people outside of the gig economy are also more than welcome to offer assistance.

Gig Workers Collective, which formed just last month, aims to help gig workers effectively organize, file grievances and advocate for themselves.

“We want to be the first responders that, whenever gig workers find out there is a pay cut or some type of issue, they’ll feel comfortable coming to us,” Clarke previously told TechCrunch.

This new tool falls into the Collective’s mission. Whether it’s assisting each other with filing for benefits or running errands, the aim is to support each other and let workers decide how they want to use it.

Gig Workers Collective has also compiled a state-by-state list of resources for workers regarding COVID-19. As the site states, “because no one has stepped in to help yet, we must help each other.”