Instacart claims it doesn’t “control” workers. Meanwhile, it pressured its contractors to disseminate political propaganda.
The battle over the future of the gig economy is boiling over in California, where delivery apps are fighting tooth and nail to keep their contract workers from being classified as employees—and aren’t afraid to blur a few legal boundaries to make it happen. In two weeks, voters will decide the future of Proposition 22, a ballot initiative that would exempt app-based delivery companies from a new labor law requiring them to pay workers minimum wage and overtime pay, among other mandated benefits. Now it appears that some apps are pressuring their own shoppers—the ones they insist are are “independent”—to disseminate pro-Prop 22 propaganda. In early October, delivery app Instacart required some of its Bay Area shoppers to include “YES 22” stickers and flyers in grocery deliveries. Workers called the move “absurd and alarming,” while labor lawyers say that this level of granular control strengthens the argument against Prop 22. They also point out that the requirement could potentially violate state labor laws that prohibit “employers from controlling their employees’ political activities.” CNN has more.