Last week, the UFCW condemned Instacart’s new automation plan that threatens the jobs of the company’s 500,000 grocery delivery workers across the country. Instacart workers in Chicago made history by becoming the first at the company to unionize when they joined the UFCW in February 2020. As part of its ruthless cost-cutting, anti-worker playbook, Instacart fired 2,000 workers who had been on the front lines protecting food access during COVID-19, including the Instacart workers who joined the UFCW. Instacart’s new automation push is the latest in a growing industry trend to replace workers with technology, including Amazon’s recent cashierless grocery store expansion.
“Instacart grocery delivery workers have been bravely serving on the front lines since the pandemic began, putting their own health at risk to ensure Americans have the food they need during this crisis,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone in a statement. “After our country called them ‘essential workers,’ it is outrageous that Instacart is now pushing job-killing automation that would wipe out the jobs of these hard-working men and women who have been a crucial lifeline providing food access to some of the most vulnerable Americans.”
“Instacart’s plan to fire its nearly 500,000 grocery delivery workers would devastate families across the country who depend on this income,” Perrone said. “With the aggressive expansion of Amazon’s cashierless grocery stores and similar automation moves at other companies, it is clear that CEOs across the industry are racing to squeeze more profits by wiping out grocery jobs that are vital to local economies nationwide. At a time when millions of Americans are still struggling and most Americans are one paycheck away from disaster, what does it say that companies like Instacart want to eliminate the jobs real people need?”
“As the union that proudly represented the first unionized Instacart grocery workers ever at the company, the UFCW is calling on CEO Apoorva Mehta to immediately stop this dangerous job-killing automation initiative,” Perrone added. “Handing out pink slips is no way to thank the brave men and women who have been keeping our food supply secure throughout this health crisis.”