Shipt Walkoff: July 15th
On July 15th, Shipt will be rolling out a new black box algorithm payment method which not only removes all transparency from its shopper compensation calculations but will likely reduce shopper pay by at least 30%. This seismic company shift is occurring at the same time that its shoppers — essential workers taking unprecedented risks during this pandemic — are already suffering significantly and at the same time Shipt — a corporation profiteering off consumer fears during this pandemic — is experiencing obscene increases in its sales.
This action is simply wrong. We, Shipt’s shoppers, cannot and will not accept this attempt to slash our pay as we risk our lives and the lives of our families during this pandemic. Thus, on July 15th, Shipt shoppers will be walking off. We ask that you join us in boycotting Shipt and send the message that profiteering off shoppers and customers is unacceptable.
Toward the end of 2019, Shipt launched a new pay structure, dubbed “V2,” in a handful of markets. The company replaced our transparent, fairer pay with a shady algorithm. Workers saw their pay plummet.
This kind of action isn’t anything new. This is a pattern of behavior with gig companies. For such companies, the most enticing aspect of a black box algorithm is that they never have to announce another pay cut. For example, Instacart replaced its workers’ pay formula with a similar algorithm in 2018, and pay has continuously and systematically declined since that time without any formal notice to Instacart’s shoppers of a pay decrease. Shipt is not a better alternative than Instacart. It is virtually following the step by step plan of Instacart. Due to the pack of transparency and guaranteed pay, Shipt can and will constantly drop shopper pay.
To organizers, Shipt’s announcement that it was extending the new pay algorithm to more shoppers was an obvious next step in V2 pay. But there were a lot of shoppers who bought into the idea that Shipt values them; they didn’t want to believe it would directly affect them. With the roll-out of this pay structure — that is categorically worse — previously complacent shoppers have been awakened. They are finally ready to fight. What had previously been a conceptual boogyman is now a reality for shoppers across the company. Even Shipt’s corporate-run Facebook group, notorious for its censorship, is now replete with posts from previously happy workers who are about to receive a completely unexpected pay cut from the company that told them they were valued.
We hope lawmakers and politicians are paying attention to how Shipt is using the intentional misclassification to cut our pay during the pandemic. Cutting pay to essential workers who put their health on the line every day during a pandemic is not the model of corporate citizenship that should be endorsed. We must stand up for what is fair.
Financially, Shipt is killing it. It is one of the few companies booming during the pandemic. This isn’t a company that has to cut pay because its core business crashed. The company has intentionally over-hired, preying off the millions of displaced workers who were furloughed or laid off during a pandemic. Shipt’s intention all along was to introduce the pay cut when it had more workers than it needed. That way it is still able to roll profitably forward even if a sizable percentage of Shipt’s existing workforce is forced to quit due to drastic cuts to our pay.
This is how Shipt treats its workers when their business is booming, imagine how bad things will become when the demand for Shipt’s service invariably wanes.
One of the most sinister things about the new black box algorithm pay is that it allows Shipt to discretely tweak pay, lower and lower, whenever it wants to. Unlike the previous pay structure, which was transparent and commission based, shoppers will no longer be able to easily discern cuts to their pay, since there is no prescribed amount an order should pay. Shipt can quietly and slowly condition its workers to expect less and less.
Shipt will be launching the new algorithmic pay to a dozen new markets on July 15th. On July 15th, we call upon all Shipt shoppers to refuse all orders for the day. We ask all Shipt shoppers, even ones who haven’t yet received the new pay, to stand in solidarity. Shipt has made it clear that this new pay will eventually be nationwide.
Shoppers have had enough. Our list of grievances and demands are only growing. Our organizing leader, Willy Solis, had a phone call with Molly Snyder, Shipt’s newly hired Chief Communications Officer, two weeks ago in which he outlined our major grievances, including misappropriated tips and the new pay structure (still limited to a few markets). While Molly stated she would get back to Willy, she still hasn’t. Instead, Shipt chose to move forward with its rollout of V2 pay in even more cities, cutting the pay for its shoppers. We are done. We are tired. We are doing real and physically dangerous and demanding work. We deserve fair and transparent pay. We deserve to receive our full tips and for customers to easily leave a tip. But instead of being open, honest, and fair, Shipt’s focus is on silencing us and attempting to leave us entirely unprotected during a pandemic.