On the same day some Shipt workers held a “walk-off” to demand hazard pay and increased protections during the coronavirus pandemic, the delivery company said it would give bonuses to its most active shoppers.
Shipt — which is owned by Target and handles same-day deliveries from the Minneapolis-based retailer as well as other stores — said Tuesday it was handing out $100 bonuses to shoppers who completed between 50 and 100 orders last month and $200 bonuses to shoppers who handled more than 100 orders.
The bonuses added up to less than the $5 per order in hazard pay asked for by a loosely organized group of Shipt workers. The group — which is calling for workers to not take additional deliveries until their demands are met — also wants more immediate access to face masks and other protective gear, among other requests.
“We’re taking extra risks so that others don’t have to,” said Willy Solis, a Shipt shopper from Denton, Texas, who took part in the walk-off and is a member of the group.
He acknowledged it’s hard to gauge how many workers took part in the walk-off on Tuesday.
“But we feel like we’re getting not only traction but response from the company,” he said, noting the bonuses as well as other changes in recent weeks.
A Target spokesman said the bonuses had already been in the works.
In recent weeks, as state and federal officials have urged Americans to stay home as much as possible to curb the spread of the coronavirus, grocery delivery has been in extremely high demand. To keep up with the surge, delivery companies such as Shipt and Instacart have been recruiting tens of thousands of new workers.
Meanwhile, some delivery workers, who are independent contractors and therefore don’t get paid sick leave, have been demanding increased protections and higher pay as their work puts them at increased risk of catching the virus.
Last week, a group of Instacart workers staged a similar walkout asking for extra pay and protective gear. The company has since said that it will provide face masks, thermometers and hand sanitizer to its shoppers.
Last week, Target said it also would provide its store workers as well as Shipt shoppers with face masks and gloves in the next two weeks.
In the meantime, Shipt will be expediting safety kits of gloves and hand sanitizer to its most active shoppers and to those in high-risk areas, Kelly Caruso, Shipt’s CEO, said in a message posted on the company’s website.
Retailers have been scrambling to source face masks for its employees amid a worldwide shortage.
But with officials warning the pandemic may peak within the next week, the Shipt workers’ group wrote in a Medium post that it’s “irresponsible” to not provide such gear to workers immediately.
While she did not directly address the walk-off, Caruso also noted that Shipt delivered a record number of orders on Tuesday.
“In fact, as of midday, we’ve seen a significant increase in orders delivered compared to this time last week (which was really, really big),” she wrote.
In addition to the bonuses, she also noted that the company gave out last month four times as much “promo pay,” additional financial incentives for workers to take orders that are waiting to be filled.
At the end of her message, she added, “You are heroes in every way — and we’re here to support you.”
The Shipt workers’ group also objects to changes in how much shoppers are paid when orders are canceled and asked the company to give two weeks of financial assistance to those who are at high risk of developing more advanced cases of COVID-19, not just to workers who have tested positive for the illness.
A Target spokesman said canceled orders account for only about 1% of orders, and changes had been made because some orders were being canceled before workers had even left their homes.
Kavita Kumar • 612-673-4113