Instacart workers are demanding disaster relief amid CA wildfires

Gig Workers Collective, a gig worker-activist group led by Instacart shoppers, is asking Instacart to provide disaster relief to workers impacted by natural disasters.

The demands come at a time when several parts of California are engulfed in flames. The three biggest fires, the LNU Lightning Complex, SCU Lightning Complex and CZU Lightning Complex, have collectively destroyed 1,225 structures and claimed the lives of five people, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s fire tracker.

In light of the wildfires and other anticipated climate change-related disasters, Instacart workers want the company to provide disaster pay at a daily rate equal to the average rate of daily pay, including tips, over the previous 30 days for each day Instacart’s operations are shutdown. Additionally, GWC wants Instacart to shut down its operations in markets where a city has declared a state of emergency or issued evacuations.

“Thousands of gig workers in California alone have been displaced, or seen the demand for their services dwindle in the face of natural disasters,” GWC wrote on Medium today. “Instacart can unilaterally shut down operations without paying its impacted workforce a dime, leaving displaced workers to fend for themselves. It is shameful that a company that became profitable for the first time during the pandemic off of the backs of its workers, has abandoned those very same workers during their time of need.”

These demands come shortly after Instacart agreed to distribute $727,985 among some San Francisco-based Instacart workers as part of a settlement pertaining to health care and paid sick leave benefits.

This group of workers also argues Instacart workers should be classified as employees, which would make them entitled to certain benefits, like paid sick leave, health care, unemployment benefits and more.

TechCrunch has reached out to Instacart for comment. We will update this story if we hear back.