The billionaires who own the app-based gig economy have an insatiable appetite for precarious labor. Meanwhile, the millions of workers who power these platforms are hungry for food and basic necessities. They rely on gig work for survival, assuming major risks for little pay and scarcely any benefits.
Instacart unilaterally cut workers’ pay by halving the default tip to 5 percent per order, provoking a three-day strike from November 3-5. Two days after the strike, the company responded by cancelling “quality bonuses” that can represent up to 40 percent of workers’ earnings. Instacart’s open hostility towards its own workforce is the most recent case for adding a dose of economic democracy to the private sector.