Boycott Shipt and Protest Shipt's Essential Worker Pay Cut!
Happening at Shipt's HQ in Birmingham and Target's HQ in Minneapolis
Shipt is cutting the pay of its essential workers nationwide, right in the middle of this COVID-19 pandemic, by forcing its workers to transition to a nontransparent black box pay scale that they did not want. The Shipt List will be protesting and fighting for the rights of all Shipt workers to receive fair and equitable pay. Read more about why we protest and how you can participate, even if you cannot join us!
Why organize a Shipt Shopper collective?
The SHIpT List is a shopper-organized labor collective that was founded to fight for fair pay and transparency for all Shipt shoppers. We began in early 2020 as a small group of Shipt shoppers uniting in a Facebook group in response to these issues:
We are thousands of Shipt shoppers uniting together across the United States. Shipt shoppers have worked hard for years to take Shipt from a small startup grocery delivery service in Birmingham, Alabama, to a large nationwide service. Shipt would not be a successful business today if not for its thousands of dedicated shoppers working hard to build the company's official slogan, "Bring the Magic".
Unfortunately, in spite of our successes in building Shipt into the success story that it is today, we shoppers are finding our concerns censored by corporate employees, and we are seeking to break the cult-like culture of Shipt by creating a safe place to crowdsource data, discuss the numerous issues we all face each day, and take collective action to make our voices heard.
We are a private, members-only collective advocacy organization that exists to address shopper concerns. Here are some of the concerns that The SHIpT List is actively working on:
Pay Cuts During COVID-19: The transition from V1 Transparent Pay to V2/V3 Blackbox Pay
Shipt is currently in the process of rolling out a new black box algorithm payment method which not only removes all transparency from shopper pay but according to our projections will reduce shopper pay by around 30%. This pay cut is occurring at the same time that its shoppers — essential workers taking unprecedented risks during this pandemic — are already suffering significantly and while Shipt is already making record-setting profits.
In 2019, Shipt launched a new pay structure, dubbed “V2,” in a handful of markets. In those markets, V2 replaced our transparent, fairer "V1" pay (which was $5 + 7.5% commission on the receipt total) with a nontransparent algorithm. Shoppers paid under the V2 pay scale saw their pay dramatically plummet. In our efforts to understand the V2 pay scale, we calculated a roughly 30% order pay decrease from V1.
For all gig companies, the most enticing aspect of a black box algorithm is that pay cuts no longer need to be publicly announced. After Instacart replaced its workers’ pay formula with a similar black box algorithm in 2018, they have continuously and systematically cut shopper pay without offering any formal notice to their workers. Shipt is simply following Instacart's lead in finding new ways to profiteer off of its workers and customers. With no transparency or guaranteed pay, Shipt can and will continue to cut shopper pay in the future.
We are advocating for Shipt shoppers and all gig industry workers by demanding an end to nontransparent pay algorithms. When Shipt recently announced that several markets still on the transparent V1 pay scale would be moved to a nontransparent pay scale dubbed "V3", which was supposedly an improvement over the V2 pay scale but in reality also lacks any transparency or clear differentiations, The SHIpT List announced a nationwide shopper walk-off.
Our fight against nontransparent blackbox pay is ongoing. Shipt's paid metro leads have announced that V2 and V3 pay will be rolled out to all markets. The SHIpT List will continue to organize shopper walk-offs to fight back and to demand that Shipt, and the broader gig industry, end nontransparent blackbox pay algorithms.
Shopper Tips Withheld: Shipt Profiting off of Shopper's Tips
The SHIpT List has documented issues related to shoppers not receiving tips from members. We have been tracking and monitoring issues reported by members to shoppers, and discovered two issues:
1. Members were not presented the option to tip after the order was delivered.
2. Tips paid by members were not being applied to shopper pay stubs on orders completed at various retail partners.
A number of members have reported to shoppers that they were never prompted to tip after receiving a Shipt delivery. Both members and shoppers have voiced their concerns about Shipt’s less than user-friendly interface. Despite this, Shipt has not acknowledged a problem.
More disturbingly, The SHIpT List began to hear from multiple shoppers that paid tips were not reaching shopper pay stubs. The SHIpT List represented these collective shopper concerns by collectively reporting the issue to Shipt HQ. In spite of getting an initial denial that there were issues, we pushed back with multiple copies of member receipts showing evidence of tips paid out by members but not received by shoppers.
After we backed Shipt HQ into a corner with this direct evidence, Shipt apologized and reimbursed over 700 shoppers the tips that had been improperly withheld.
Improper Cancellation Pay: Shipt is Underpaying Shoppers for Cancelled Orders
In the past, if a Shipt order was cancelled at any point after a shopper started shopping the order, the shopper would still be paid the base payment that they had been offered, in addition to any “promo” pay (a pay boost offered for an unclaimed time-sensitive order) when they accepted the order offer.
Shipt has attempted to cut cancellation pay, and some Shipt shoppers saw pay on these cancelled orders fall to as low as 29 cents, as shown.
The SHIpT List has been advocating for Shoppers on this particular issue and has been fighting for adequate shopper compensation, by publicizing the issue as soon as it came to our attention.
COVID-19 Pandemic Safety: Equipping Shoppers with Adequate PPE and Disinfectant Supplies
The SHIpT List is asking that every Shipt Shopper be supplied with adequate PPE, including masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Shoppers have been asking for this since coronavirus first came to the US. Target, which owns Shipt, has had gloves for its own employees’ for weeks but has not given them to Shipt Shoppers.
More than 3 weeks after coronavirus became a pandemic, on Friday, April 3, Shipt announced via email to shoppers that they will be able to pick up gloves and masks at your nearest Target store within the next 2 weeks. Unfortunately, not all areas that Shipt serves have Targets, and shoppers shop at more stores than just Target. Many Shoppers do not have nearby Target stores, which means they have no access to these gloves and masks.
As Shipt shoppers, we are more exposed to the coronavirus than most other Americans. Grocery stores are frequented by everyone — sick and healthy — and we are being exposed to all of it, in hopes that we can help others self-quarantine. A higher exposure rate means an increased likelihood that we will catch coronavirus. Evidence is accumulating that grocery store workers are more likely to die from being exposed to the virus than other workers, even with some protection. Yet, we have none.
In a recent email, Shipt also said “Next week, shoppers who live in coronavirus hot spots and shoppers who’ve been the most active during the pandemic will receive emailed instructions on claiming a free kit that will include gloves and hand sanitizer.” This is problematic since there is no clear definition of who is or who is not an “active shopper”, and the few shoppers who have received kits reportedly received 6-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer and no masks. Also, the coronavirus can infect shoppers and be spread in areas not designated as hotspot areas.
Hazard Pay: Compensating Shoppers for COVID-19 Health Risks
Shipt HQ should offer shoppers hazard pay for choosing to risk our health to deliver groceries to those who are self-quarantining. Shipt has claimed that they are offering promo pay as a substitute, but this is not the case. Promo pay has been around for several years. It is used as an incentive for Shoppers to pick up orders that are close to the delivery window, so that orders would not be further delayed or cancelled altogether.
Promo pay is not the same as “hazard pay,” as it does not do anything to address the risks that Shipt shoppers take due to the coronavirus. It is simply something that has always been in place.
A Shipt spokesperson recently said that the company is paying up to four times the amount of normal promo pay. When the seriousness of COVID-19 was recognized and major organizations and businesses cancel events, many orders that normally would have had promos attached to them did not.
Recently, in the Birmingham area where Shipt is headquartered, there were 675 unclaimed open orders. Only 12 of them had promo pay attached. That’s less than 2% of open orders. Shoppers clearly are not receiving promo pay just to risking their good health for the company.
Further, promo pay per order is not any higher than it previously was. In the past, it used to be as high as $20 or even $30 per order. Now, the highest promos typically get is $15 per order.
Paid Leave for Shipt Shoppers
Everyone needs paid leave to care for themselves or a family member, especially during a global pandemic. Target needs to ensure that everyone working in its stores has access to paid family and medical leave, including Shipt shoppers who are putting their health and their families at risk to deliver groceries during this crisis.
Target’s grocery delivery service, Shipt, is more popular than ever and has hired tens of thousands more shoppers to shop for and deliver orders since COVID-19 hit. Shipt is a major driver of Target’s increased revenue during the pandemic, but Shipt’s 100,000+ shoppers don’t have access to the same paid family and medical leave benefits that other Target employees have. If they get sick or need to care for a family member, they are on their own. Pay is so low that many Shipt shoppers cannot afford to take time off without paid leave, even if it puts their health and their families at risk. While most Target store employees get up to 150 days of paid medical leave and 4 weeks of family caregiving leave, Shipt shoppers who are at even greater risk as they deliver to customers do not get any.
Shipt shoppers are working side by side with Target store employees serving Target customers in Target stores, but are denied access to the same paid leave to support themselves and their families. Target, which is one of the largest retailers in the country, can afford to protect everyone who works in its stores as well as its customers during this pandemic. Shipt shoppers are demanding that Target provide paid leave to everyone who works in its stores.
The SHIpT List has partnered with Coworker.org and PL+US to advocate for paid leave for all Shipt workers, especially during COVID-19.
Sick Pay: Helping Shoppers That Tested Positive for COVID-19 Stay Home
Shipt Shoppers with a COVID-19 diagnosis or those told to quarantine because of coronavirus symptoms are not being paid as Shipt promised. Shipt is requiring Shoppers to provide documentation from a public health authority (such as the Department of Health), the CDC, or the FDA. The CDC and FDA do not provide testing, and it is nearly impossible to be tested for coronavirus by local health authorities. Shoppers called the CDC and FDA to seek guidance on testing. Both agencies referred the Shopper to their primary care doctor for evaluation and testing. Shipt has repeatedly told Shoppers that having a diagnosis and note from their doctor is not sufficient.
COVID-19 pay is also not being extended to Shoppers who are too high risk to shop.
Lack of Training and Support for New Shoppers
When COVID-19 hit, the current Shipt HQ system could not support experienced shoppers who already knew what they were doing. Wait times to chat or talk with HQ were often hours long.
Then, Shipt began hiring shoppers en masse to help fulfill order demand. Unfortunately, Shipt HQ suspended shopper training and orientation, something that they later admitted to doing.
With no training or support from HQ, new shoppers were left to fend for themselves and troubleshoot issues on their own.
While we understand that Shipt needed to hire rapidly, suspending training and phone support has caused shoppers to feel overwhelmed and unsupported. It has also resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of bad customer experiences.
While Shipt may gain many new customers due to this pandemic, they will also lose many long-standing customers and shoppers as a result of extraordinarily bad experiences.