Gig-economy delivery workers have become targets of violence during the pandemic

Home delivery orders have increased since the pandemic forced people to stay indoors—and the gig workers who stepped in to meet these demands have experienced increased acts of violence, Defector reports. Delivery workers have been shot and killed by armed robbers looking to steal expensive electric bikes. An UberEats driver died after an attempted carjacking. And one of the victims of the mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, was an Instacart worker. But because of their independent contractor status, these workers aren’t afforded protections given to full-time employees—benefits like health insurance, sick leave, and disability. Instead, when a tragedy occurs, families are forced to seek help using crowdsourcing platforms like GoFundMe. “The amount of attention and support that a worker’s family receives is unfortunately drawn among privileged lines,” said Vanessa Bain, an Instacart worker and co-founder of the advocacy group Gig Workers Collective.

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