Postmates delivery workers say they sometimes make as little as $4.20 per hour because of long wait times at restaurants.


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Postmates is the latest gig economy company to become the subject of worker protests. Delivery workers for Postmates announced Tuesday they’ll be holding a three-day strike to call attention to the lack adequate safety protections during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The protest will involve those workers refusing to make any deliveries on Chipotle orders from April 29 to May 1. They’re calling it a #GuacOff. They’ve singled out Chipotle because even though the fast food chain said it’s giving its employees sick leave and a 10% pay raise during the outbreak, it’s still partnering with Postmates when its delivery workers don’t get equivalent benefits. 

“Stay-at-home orders have led to a food delivery boom, and apps like Postmates are ramping up partnerships with restaurants like Chipotle,” Pay Up, a group that’s helping organize the Postmates worker protest, said in a statement. “But the essential workers doing the delivery work don’t have sick leave, don’t have PPE or other safety supplies, and aren’t getting more than a few bucks for each delivery.”

Gig workers — like Postmates, Instacart and DoorDash delivery people and Uber and Lyft drivers — are considered essential workers, which means they can continue to work as the coronavirus spreads. They’ve been delivering food to people in quarantine and transporting medical workers to and from the hospital. Many gig workers say the companies they work for haven’t supplied them with enough protections while on the job.

Workers for Instacart, Amazon and Shipt have also staged strikes demanding more help over the past few weeks. While most of these companies say they’ll give two weeks sick leave to workers, CNET found that assistance is difficult to come by. Workers for these companies say they’ve also had difficulty getting personal protective equipment for when they’re out on deliveries.

Because gig workers are classified as independent contractors, rather than employees, they don’t qualify for company health insurance, sick leave, family leave, disability or workers compensation.

Postmates workers have several demands: a $5 hazard pay for all deliveries; better safety equipment, like masks and hand sanitizer; and easily accessible paid leave if they get infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Workers also want the option of doing no-contact deliveries.

The protestors say Chipotle is giving customers free deliveries, but isn’t doing anything to help those people delivering the food. They say that once a worker gets an order, waits in line for the food and then delivers it to the customer, they oftentimes only make about $2 per half hour of work. For comparison, $2 is what Chipotle charges for a scoop of guacamole. Workers say Postmates pays $0.07 per minute for time spent waiting for orders and with long lines that adds up to about $4.20 an hour.

“Postmates shouldn’t be allowed to get away with putting workers — and the public — at risk during the crisis,” Pay Up said in the statement. “And restaurants like Chipotle shouldn’t get off the hook when they’re partnering with a company that pays workers less than they charge for a scoop of guac.”

Postmates and Chipotle didn’t return request for comment.

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