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Could Bipartisan Support Of The Gig Economy Finally Fix What’s Broken With Healthcare?

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On June 17, 1775, after several hours of intense fighting, British soldiers drove the American militia from their position to win the Battle of Bunker Hill. While the victory came at a significant cost to the British, who at the time were among the most feared and well-trained military forces in the world, it proved to be a Pyrrhic victory.

The British may have taken control of a perceived valuable position, but it ultimately did not change the strategic dynamic; it was a hollow win, a battle against the wrong front, and one could argue the exact scenario that the US healthcare system finds itself in today. 

Remembering this history lesson is critical to adequately address some of the biggest healthcare, economic, and societal challenges the country is grappling with today. It is also an important reminder for President Biden and the new Administration, specifically related to the well-intentioned but ill-fated attempt to improve healthcare access via employer-sponsored coverage for the 57 million people, or 35% of American workers, participating in the “Gig Economy”.

A Pandemic of Inequality And A Growing Gig Economy

In addition to impacting how we live, Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on how well we live, with the pandemic only exacerbating income inequality and economic disparities. Stock prices may have reached record highs, but millions are still unemployed

Unemployment and pandemic-related layoffs have fueled participation in the gig economy. This has benefitted many of the technology companies that facilitate the gig economy, but may exacerbate the wealth inequality between investors in those companies and the independent contractors who power them.  

For example, on-demand food service platform DoorDash raised a whopping $3.4 billion in December 2020 and is valued at $61 billion as of this writing. The company’s couriers, however, only report an average salary of $11 an hour. This means a courier working 40 hours a week providing for a family of four would be below the federal poverty level, and because of their classification as independent contractors, they do not have access to employer-sponsored healthcare coverage (California gig workers notwithstanding). 

Some argue that the gig economy creates further negative “spillover” effects. These negative effects include the fact that gig work should simply be called ‘precarious work’ that is not tenable for workers; that platforms such as DoorDash put a “tax” on restaurants that is destroying the food service industry; and even that the ‘gig’ lifestyle puts children of gig workers at risk.

President Biden has clearly been paying attention to the implications of the gig economy. His campaign website noted that “Employer misclassification of ‘gig economy’ workers as independent contractors deprives these workers of legally mandated benefits and protections,” with healthcare access being one of those. In addition, current legislation passed by the House of Representatives intended to strengthen labor rights would extend organizing rights to gig workers and apply more stringent tests to determine employment versus contractor status for workers. 

Such efforts to strengthen protections for gig workers are admirable. They are, however, wrongheaded and would represent a Pyrrhic victory, especially when it comes to healthcare benefits access and delivery. One need look no further than our healthcare system, and employers’ failed efforts to reform it, to understand why.

Disruption, Disrupted

Just last month, Haven, the non-profit formed by Berkshire Hathaway, JP Morgan and Amazon, announced it was closing its doors. The venture, announced in 2018 to much fanfare, sought to utilize technology and the combined market power of its three founders to make healthcare work better for the companies’ combined 1.5 million employees. Reactions to the recent news from industry insiders ranged from assessing what went wrong, to smug satisfaction (“who knew healthcare is so complex?”), to suggestions about how employers should be working with state and federal policymakers and regulators. 

Very few seemed to be questioning why Haven existed in the first place, or why JP Morgan, Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and other employers are involved in healthcare decisions at all. 

A System Nobody Would Design…

Imagine sitting at a table with the nation’s best and brightest, trying to design a healthcare system from scratch. Medical doctors, health policy researchers, economists, patient advocates, bioethicists, public health experts, healthcare administrators, pharmaceutical executives, technology leaders and serious-minded policymakers from both sides of the aisle. All having an intellectually honest discussion – even a debate – about the key considerations that should be factored in. One could imagine the types of questions that might come up:

  • “How do we build health equity and accountability into the system?”
  • “How should we think about balancing individual rights with policies that benefit the population as a whole?”
  • “What is the right way to leverage market forces to manage costs while recognizing that economic efficiency may not be the right framework for dealing with certain healthcare decisions such as end of life care plans?”
  • “How do we leverage technology to enable quality reporting and improvement programs while not burdening clinicians who just want to provide care?”

If designing a system from scratch, one could imagine medical doctors advocating for the primacy of the doctor-patient relationship; or the economist’s focus on costs above all else; or the public health expert placing emphasis on social spending on social determinants of health. 

What is it very hard to imagine? Anybody making the case that a person’s employer should play a critical role in that person’s healthcare decisions. Or, for that matter, that employers should play any role in healthcare whatsoever. 

In fact, it’s unclear that anyone ever actually made the case that employers should be involved in healthcare decisions. 

…Because Nobody Designed It

Most Americans today (162 million) – and the vast majority of working-age people – have employer-based health insurance. That is, most Americans rely on their (or their parents’) employers for access to health insurance. This is a critical benefit for people, as the total cost of insurance for a single employee has increased to $21,342, up from $13,770 just ten years ago. 

But why do employers provide health insurance in the first place?

In fact, health insurance as we know it today did not really exist before World War II; hospitals originally began offering insurance themselves during the Great Depression as a way to generate more reliable revenue. 

Our employer-based system today is the result of an odd situation stemming from an executive order by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during World War II to stabilize wage rates during labor shortages, and subsequently enshrined in tax policy and code, which allowed employers to recognize spend on health insurance as tax deductible (thereby reducing their taxable income).

As employers competed for labor, they increasingly turned to generous health insurance benefits to attract workers. This worked for both sides due to the tax loophole; employers could deduct the expense of health insurance, which employees couldn’t do. It made simple economic sense. 

No one person ever made the case that employers should play a role in healthcare. But as their role became more pervasive over time and people began to rely on the benefits, employers became inextricably linked to our healthcare system.

The problem? Employers are in the business of running their businesses and organizations, not in becoming experts in healthcare. And the introduction of employers into healthcare decisions has led to substantial negative effects for healthcare, employers themselves, the economy overall, and of course for people themselves.

Is this really a problem, though?

Bad For Healthcare, Bad for Business, Bad for the Economy, Bad For People

Employer-based health insurance is indeed a problem. Upon even a cursory analysis, it’s such a readily apparent problem – perhaps the biggest problem, for reasons explained below – that it’s curious it doesn’t draw more political attention. Perhaps because while it lies in plain sight, it’s covered up by easier targets that also are certainly problematic. 

The easier targets? 

There is data to support the case for each of the above. However, each obscures the broader and more systematic root problem: fragmentation exists, complexity exists, and waste and abuse is exacerbated, because the majority of Americans obtain their health insurance through hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of employers, which is:

Bad For Healthcare

First, the presence of employers as the procurers of health insurance creates an additional layer between consumers of care and the administrators of care (health plans). Even employers wishing to act truly in a benevolent manner and make broad benefit decisions that reflect their employees’ preferences as a whole still merely masks and distorts individual preferences, or prevents them from materializing at all. 

For instance, the tax advantages of employer-based health insurance has led to employers competing for labor in part on offering so-called ‘Cadillac’ plans which individuals may appreciate but would be unwilling to spend if they were spending their own money

Further, employers have different incentives than any individual employee; they may wish to be generous with coverage decisions but simultaneously manage costs, resulting in utilization management programs such as prior authorizations that frustrate patients and doctors alike. For advocates of ‘consumer-driven healthcare’ and ‘consumerism’ as a driver of change, the presence of employers simply adds a layer of inertia that confuses and obfuscates consumer signals.

Beyond this, the role of employers as a financing mechanism for health insurance contributes significantly to the problems described above (‘easier targets’): with more than 300,000 employers in the country with 50 or more employees, there is tremendous fragmentation in purchasing power, and high variability in terms of perceived needs. This creates a principal-agent problem: to win business, health plans may cater to individual employer needs in ways that prevent their effectiveness at a systemic level. For instance, employers in a given region may believe it important to include a well-known hospital their network and require their health plans to do so, regardless of (i) the health plans’ superior knowledge about the quality of care that the hospital provides and (ii) the adverse impact that this has on the plans’ ability to negotiate lower rates on behalf of the employer and members. 

Finally, there are some who argue that employers serve as aggregators of individual health risk, which reduces financial risk and results in increased purchasing power. This is backward thinking. In fact, an employer’s size is a function of its effectiveness in a specific functional area or market position, having nothing to do with its effectiveness in aggregating its employees’ health risk. This creates arbitrary risk pools, and further confuses aggregation of risk at a micro level with that which is possible (and done) at a macro level, whether across employers or individuals.

Bad For Business

Corporate America rejoiced with the passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. One analysis suggested that the reduced tax burden would lead to significant business growth, which would lead to increased worker wages and more than 339,000 jobs created. 

If a maginal reduction in the $327 billion paid in corporate income tax unleashed that much economic activity, just imagine what would happen if US businesses were freed from a health insurance burden that at $1.1 Trillion is almost four times the magnitude of income taxes. 

Health insurance is the most expensive benefit that employers provide, and one of the fastest growing. It puts US businesses that compete on a global scale at a cost disadvantage, and costs consumers, too: General Motors has estimated that health insurance costs add $1,500 to $2,000 to the sticker price of its automobiles. 

The inclusion of health insurance as a benefit can shift the calculus on individual and group hiring decisions: with healthcare costs of ~$21,000 per employee, staffing budgets do not stretch nearly as far, leading to fewer hires and making each hiring decision that much more critical. 

Bad For People

The most obvious challenge of employer-based health insurance is that it results in job lock. At a high level, job lock in this context refers to a situation in which a person may want to leave her job, but is concerned with the need to secure health insurance from another source prior to doing so. 

While proving out the job lock effect has proven difficult via rigorous studies, what is not difficult to recognize: a majority of Americans are concerned about being able to afford surprise medical bills. Job lock may also play a role in declining levels of entrepreneurship and new business creation in the United States.  

Employment-based health insurance also arbitrarily restricts choice for people, placing benefit design and some downstream healthcare decisions in the hands of employers rather than individuals. 

Bad For Society And The Economy

Job lock isn’t merely an individual problem (although it frequently is), but in aggregate leads to reduced economic dynamism. This problem is exacerbated by unnecessary burdens on business that force them to spend on non-core activities rather than those that can drive growth. 

Add in the fact that employers are put in a position to make healthcare benefit decisions for their staff – when those two sides’ views on healthcare and religion conflict – and it adds to the absurdity. 

Businesses have less capital to hire workers. Individuals have fewer job options, and are less likely to leave their jobs to start their own job-creating ventures due to medical concerns. The dysfunctional status quo leads to higher healthcare costs for businesses to bear. Businesses restrict options. Outsiders question why an employer is restricting access to healthcare and “buycott” the business. 

It’s a vicious cycle. 

Stop The Insanity: Why Haven Failed

It’s time to start looking beneath the surface, beneath the problems that most analysts can agree on, to identify the root causes of the sclerosis. With healthcare spend quadrupling on a per capita basis from 1980 to 2018, plus the well-documented dearth of value delivered from that spend, the time to look under the hood is nigh, and the disintegration of Haven provides perhaps the perfect case study to do so. 

Haven was started by three of the largest, most sophisticated, most well respected and well-run corporations in the United States to help them break free of ever-rising healthcare costs. The three companies represented the collective purchasing power of more than 1.5 million employees, and they recruited an extraordinary team, led by surgeon and healthcare expert Atul Gawande. Yet Haven shut down just over two years of founding. Haven wasn’t the only employer coalition to take on healthcare

One of the more thoughtful takes summed up Haven’s challenge well:  “Each company [Amazon, JPMorgan, Berkshire Hathaway] is different, based on the industry they’re in or their economic position. Think about it this way. If you’re going to move the needle with a standardized benefit design, there might be something that one employer in the group won’t give up.”

If Haven – backed by Amazon, JP Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway – couldn’t get its three founders aligned and able to leverage their scale to bring down healthcare costs, is there any chance that 300,000+ employers will be able to? Unlikely, even if they form coalitions similar to Haven’s. 

Perhaps politicians on both sides of the aisle should stop expecting them to. Further, the existence of the patchwork employer-based system creates inertia to systemic change and progress that could be made on other fronts. 

In fact, there are clear wins for liberal groups and conservatives if they can look past the current model of employer-based health insurance. The answer seems inevitable; it’s just a matter of how long it will take for each side to gather the political will and courage to embrace it.

Platforms And The Gig Economy Are The Answer

Contrary to the picture of the gig economy as “precarious work”, the vast majority of gig workers engage in the work by choice. The gig economy offers attractions to workers that traditional employers have difficulty in matching, including a high degree of autonomy (which tasks or projects they accept and the timing of that work), financial upside, choice of working style, and greater flexibility of relationships. 

The gig economy is also expected to expand in the coming years, again largely by choice. Platforms such as Upwork are expanding the type of work that can be done via the gig economy to include more skilled service jobs, matching available freelancers to businesses that have project needs. And additional infrastructure platforms are emerging to help support gig workers and freelancers, providing them tools to optimize their earnings and helping them to plan. 

Services such as Upwork are good for businesses, too: they allow employers to quickly find talented freelancers and uncover at a low cost the quality of their work.  Such an iterative process can turn an uncertain, costly and fraught-filled recruiting and hiring process into an easier, lower cost way to test out new relationships. 

The policy considerations: at some point in the near future, we are likely to reach a time at which the number of gig workers and freelancers creates a tipping point effect in labor markets. Already, there are legitimate questions about how to provide a safety net for gig workers.

Politicians face a choice: repeat the failed policies of the past and saddle platforms businesses like DoorDash and Upwork with employer obligations – which would negatively impact their business models and slow their growth – or embrace the future. 

For Democrats, more gig economy workers creates a larger constituency who will likely need and vote for social safety net programs such as a public option or Medicare For All. In addition, health insurance exchanges, created by the Affordable Care Act, are direct-to-consumer platforms that have proved to be a valuable, essential tool for the millions of eligible enrollees who need to secure coverage on their own, as opposed to going through an employer or a government-run program like Medicare or Medicaid. The federal and state-run exchanges  promote plan competition and choice by allowing consumers to compare and shop for coverage on their own, as well as obtain premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions, which serve to reduce premiums and out-of-pocket costs. 

For Republicans, more gig workers means better functioning job and labor markets, reduced corporate cost burden and improved global competitive position, and improved economic dynamism and growth.  

To be sure, the devil is in the details. But embracing the future, and reducing the burden on employers, isn’t even a radical idea, nor is it partisan: the bipartisan Healthy Americans Act in 2007 proposed shifting from the existing employer-based to individually procured plans from state-based exchanges. An independent analysis concluded that it would have achieved universal coverage, and would be self-financing after its first year, gradually bringing down costs. 

“Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste”

Rahm Emmanuel recently reprised his famous line, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” which is incredibly fitting given the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic we’re all living through. Rather than fight for Pyrrhic political victories (as was Bunker Hill for the British) by burdening more employers with benefits, we need to look at the root cause of the inequities and inefficiencies in our healthcare system, take aim at the right targets, and shoot with purpose. 

To invest in a better future requires a commitment to growth and change and an unapologetic questioning of the status quo. Employer-sponsored healthcare isn’t working, and no number of care navigator companies or employer-focused solutions will fix that fact.

The rise of the gig economy and utility of platforms represent a new, strategic path forward for healthcare delivery and benefits administration in the US, and ultimately can provide an exit ramp for this country’s 75-year history of failure of employer-sponsored health insurance.



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Portugal’s gig-economy workers set to become staff

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LISBON, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Portugal has moved a step closer to ordering digital platforms such as Uber and Glovo to employ some of their drivers as staff with formal contracts and benefits, becoming the latest European nation to tackle the gig economy.

The bill, which was approved by the government late on Thursday but still needs to get the final stamp of approval from parliament, aims to grant thousands of riders working rights as employees and not freelancers.

It is likely to be approved as the Socialist government has the support from other left-wing parties. If given the green light, it will be another win for unions worldwide fighting for better pay and benefits for those employed in the gig economy.

Britain’s Supreme Court ruled in February that Uber drivers were entitled to workers’ rights and, a few months later, Spain gave food delivery companies three months to employ their couriers as staff.

Portugal’s Labour Minister Ana Mendes Godinho said the bill assumes that a worker of the digital platform operator is staff with a formal contract whenever there is evidence of relationships between the platform, the worker who provides the service and the customers.

“Fighting precarious employment is one of our top priorities,” Godinho told a news conference.

She said that digital platforms will also have “the obligation to transparently inform the Work Conditions Authority, workers and their representatives, about the criteria of algorithms and artificial intelligence mechanisms used.”

Under pressure to come up with an EU-wide solution, the European Commission launched a public consultation earlier this year to determine couriers’ legal employment status and how to improve their working conditions. read more

The gig economy grew during the COVID-19 pandemic as people around the world needed goods and food delivered to their homes and millions of newly unemployed were eager to work.

But many digital platform workers say they are being exploited by companies that pay low wages, encourage long working hours, while providing little social and health protection.

Reporting by Sergio Goncalves and Catarina Demony; Editing by David Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Gig workers in Karnataka too can expect weekly offs, other benefits- The New Indian Express

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Express News Service

BENGALURU: Gig workers with e-commerce platforms can hope for better days with various benefits. With the Union Government proposing to revise the definition of employment to include new types of workforce, the Labour Department in the state is planning to conduct a survey of workers in the unorganised sector, including drivers enlisted with mobile app-based cab platforms, delivery agents and food delivery agents, to ensure that they get benefits like weekly offs and minimum wages.

The Centre is expected to include new forms of workforce, including gig and platform workers, and anganwadi workers, in a new set of reforms under the proposed National Employment Policy that seeks to ensure a fair deal to the workers. Under this policy, these workers will be eligible for minimum wages, weekly offs and other leaves and also other worker-related benefits like Provident Fund and ESI facility. Presently, gig workers, including food delivery agents and mobile-app based drivers, are not employees of the company — they are paid per delivery or trip and they have to bear the cost of fuel.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, State Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar said, “Though the Centre is yet to finalise the policy, Karnataka will go ahead and conduct a district-wise survey of mobile-based taxi/autorickshaw drivers, delivery agents and also food delivery agents. We can provide facilities to beneficiaries only if we have proper data on them.”

Hebbar said he will discuss the matter with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and other officials concerned and a final decision will be taken after the October 30 bypolls. Meanwhile, over 7 lakh people from Karnataka have registered on the e-SHRAM portal for unorganised workers that was launched last month. Hebbar informed the Assembly in the recent session that there are over 1.6 crore unorganised workers in Karnataka. 

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Why Do Gig Workers Want You To Delete Instacart?

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Robin Pape is a gig worker and Founding Member of the Gig Workers Collective. Errol Schweizer led the Grocery team at Whole Foods Market for 9 years, including during 2015 when the retailer was an early adapter of Instacart.

Errol Schweizer: What’s it like to be a gig worker?

Robin Pape: There’s a lot of uncertainty involved with being a gig worker. You never really know what you’re gonna make, how much you’re going to work. You generally don’t have health care. And there’s no sick pay, no paid time off. There’s just a lot of uncertainty. 

Errol: How is it different than being a regular employee?

Robin: Well, as a gig worker, we’re classified as independent contractors. And we at the Gig Workers Collective believe that that’s an intentional misclassification and that it’s done to specifically skirt the labor laws. So you know, if we worked for the company as a direct employee, we would have access to health insurance and sick pay and paid time off, and they would be paying into our taxes and towards social security. We would be using their vehicles instead of our own. So that there’s a lot of differences in how we’re treated. 

Errol: What’s the issue with the business model? 

Robin: So usually, the pay with these good companies starts out pretty well. And then as time goes on, it’s unsustainable. And it drops and there’s changes to how the pay models work. Initially, they’ll usually start with a very clear and concrete pay model, and then switch to something that’s more of a black-box, an algorithm where we can’t really compute what exactly it is that we’re being paid for, what’s mileage, just the simple base pay for an order. The company makes money by charging extra money to the customers. And in addition to that, they’ll pay service delivery fees to the company.

So getting into these gigs, it can feel initially like you’re making good money, because you haven’t been educated about all of the costs and the expenses involved. But at the end of the day, you’re lucky to break even.

Errol: How have you seen gig work change during COVID-19? What’s it been like?

Robin: There’s been a huge increase in the number of people who are using delivery services. I think that’s tapering off a bit now that people are feeling more comfortable and more people are vaccinated and getting back into the stores themselves. So while there was this huge boom in customer base, Instacart, in particular, cut our base pay, And they hired twice as many shoppers, and they sent us inadequate PPE, the shelves were empty, customers were upset about this, it was taken out on shoppers, it was out of our control. People were frustrated. It went from shopping usually one, maybe two orders at a time to most often shopping three orders at a time, and having to communicate with three different people, while you’re in the middle of a pandemic, and everything is taking so much longer as you’re going back and forth, back and forth, fulfilling requests for three people who aren’t going to get everything that they want. And you know, there were limits. You could only have two bags of frozen vegetables. And, one case of water and people weren’t happy about it.

But people were proud of what they were doing. They weren’t ashamed to say that they worked for Instacart or one of the other gigs, there was some pride. And all of these people were going somewhere that no one else wanted to go, that people were afraid to go. 

But overall, in general, we’ve seen pay cuts from 30 to 50%. And a lot of it is out of our control, a lot of it doesn’t have to be this way. And the things that we’re asking for right now are things that we’ve had in the past that were taken from us so that the company could be more profitable. 

Right now they want to paint this glowing picture, and they either want to sell the company or announce an IPO. And we’re hoping that it’s a lot harder to do that when investors understand just how poorly this company cares for its employees, for its independent contractors. 

Errol: What are the five demands that the Gig Workers Collective has around reforming Instacart and other similar apps?

Robin: All of our demands are things that we we’ve either had, or have been told we have, but it hasn’t really been made clear.

So the first demand that we have is that they return to paying by the order instead of by the batch. So people think of as a batch as one order, but it can actually be one order, or two or three full service orders where you shop and deliver. And in some areas, including mine, it can be as many as five delivery orders. Right now, the minimum pay for a delivery order is $5.00. But if they put five of them together in one batch, there’s still only guaranteeing $5.00. And that’s not a base pay. That’s a minimum pay. So that can include the mileage, that can include heavy order pay.

So that that’s the first one is that they pay us by the order. That’s the easiest way to make sure that we’re paid fairly and at least a minimum wage. The second demand is that they reintroduce item commission; this was removed in late 2018. We used to receive a base pay for an order plus item commission. So you could pretty easily figure out what you’re going to get paid for an order by looking at the number of items in it. In 2018, they change that to a black-box algorithm. At one point they took away the ability for customers to tip. We had to fight to get that back, you know, they stole our tips. They used our tips to subsidize pay, they had to apologize publicly and pay us back tips. So there have been all sorts of issues with tips and pay and commission. So in addition to having batches only contain one order, or if more than one order, have them be fairly priced. we would like them to reintroduce item commission. 

We’d also like them to stop punishing shoppers for issues that are out of their control. So this could look like a lot of different things during COVID-19. We were having, you know a lot of markdowns because things weren’t available in the store, or because people wanted three of something and the limit was one. So there were issues there with things not being delivered on time, and shoppers would be penalized for that. And then, you know, the thing that’s most out of our control is that not all customers are honest. We like to think that most of them are. So all these things together can really have an impact on ratings. Instacart keeps track of the last hundred orders that you shop. So the way that it is right now if you have a perfect five star rating, you get to see the best orders that they’re offering. When I had a 4.98 I was seeing the best offers. I shopped a few orders and didn’t get any ratings. So some of my five stars fell off which gave weight to the four star I have. And that brought me down to a 4.97 and I didn’t see any good orders. Now it could take weeks for somebody to get their ratings back up where it needs to be and it’s really unfair to the independent contractors. 

The fourth demand is that we’re looking for a clear occupational death benefit. The contract says that they may pay death benefits. Just like they said that they may pay for COVID. And it’s still not really clear what they mean by that they may pay occupational death benefits. We’d like them to be guaranteed, We’d like them to be accessible. We’d like to know how they’re accessible, and we’d like them to be comparable to properly classified employees. 

And then the final demand is that they return the default tip to 10%. Currently, it’s 5%. So if a customer tips 10%, or 20%, the next time they go into order, the default tip should be set to that higher percent. And Instacart removed it at one point and replaced it with a service fee that didn’t go to the shoppers but went to Instacart. We had to fight to get them to reinstate it. But when they did, they reinstated it at 5% instead of 10%. The other 5% remains a service fee for Instacart. In some areas that 5% is closer to 8%. And then in other markets for delivery orders that service fee is as much as 15%. And that’s on top of the item markups. You know, when the default tip is set to 5%, people tend to think that that’s the fair amount, the customary amount to tip for this kind of a service. 

All jobs deserve a living wage. If you can’t afford to pay the people who make it happen for you a living wage, then you don’t deserve to be in business.

Right now we’re getting the short end of the stick while Instacart makes money and it’s money that should be in our pockets right now. We’ll just keep getting louder and louder because we’ve got nothing to lose.

Errol: So how can folks support you? 

Robin: So we successfully registered to be a nonprofit. We have a website, it’s Gig Workers Collective.org. You can donate there, you can provide your information to get connected with us and be more aware of what we’re doing and how we’re organizing. You know, we’ve done a boycott, and we’ve done a protest, and we’ve done a walk off, we’ve asked customers to delete the app. We’re not just going to go away until things get better. So delete Instacart, do the curbside pickup, and tip when you can.

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