Employees of the shopping delivery platform Shipt plan to quit their jobs and not take new orders on Wednesday, July 15. They say the company’s move to an algorithm-based pay structure will cut their salaries by at least 30 percent.
“This seismic business shift is taking place at the same time that its customers – key employees taking unprecedented risks during this pandemic – are already suffering significantly,” said a group of ship shoppers wrote in a Medium post, “And at the same time, Shipt – a company that chases away consumer fears during this pandemic – is experiencing obscene increases in sales.”
Shipt launched a new rewards model, internally called “V2”, in some of its markets towards the end of 2019, replacing the previous fixed-fee model. According to the shoppers, it will be rolled out to a dozen new markets on Wednesday.
Shipt told The edge in an email that the new payment structure “can take better account of the actual effort required to complete and deliver orders by taking into account estimated driving time, number of items in the order, the maximum display windows and the location “. Some orders “may pay differently than before, since payment is based on effort and not value of order,” the company said, adding that average base salaries remain constant and slightly higher in some markets where the algorithm has been tested .
But workers in the markets where the new pay algorithm was first rolled out reported seeing their wages drop by 40 to 50 percent.
Shipt employees have also complained that customers don’t always receive their tips from customers, and while the company does told AL.com it was isolated to a single grocery store in Michigan, involving about 700 people, and customers say the problem is more widespread.
Shoppers say their organizing leader, Willy Solis, had a phone call to Shipt Chief Communications Officer Molly Snyder two weeks ago, explaining their grievances. Solis says Snyder told him she would come back to him, but she hasn’t done that yet.
Shipt says it asks shoppers to experience the new model and share feedback, and is “committed to helping shoppers succeed”. The company says it has provided personal protective equipment, bonus payments and financial assistance to customers – what the buyers dispute – during the pandemic.
“Our commitment to shoppers is stronger than ever, and all the operational changes we make balance the shoppers’ interests with the longer-term needs of the company,” said Shipt.
Shipt customers pay a monthly fee to subscribe to the service and can choose to receive deliveries from supermarkets and retailers in their area. Target acquired the company in 2017, and during the pandemic, Shipt was otherwise a bright spot on Target’s disappointing financial performance. Same day services, including Shipt, rose 278 percent in the first quarter.
Shipt workers left work in April to demand better protection and payment from the company. Motherboard had a look behind the scenes take a look at what it was like to work for the company in February, with customers describing a culture of harassment where workers were not only expected to handle groceries for the supermarket, but also performed other tasks for discerning customers – such as walking dogs and taking out trash – to receive tips. An employee described being temporarily deactivated on the platform after criticizing the company’s new logo.
The delivery of groceries has exploded during the pandemic, but that happiness has generally not gone to the workers who made the deliveries. DoorDash had to deal with complaints that it was driver tips, and Instacart drivers described a labyrinth of bureaucracy when they tried to claim the danger money the company would offer.
Shipt shoppers meanwhile ask all shoppers to refuse orders on Wednesday and ask customers to boycott the service and not use Shipt that day. “This is how Shipt treats its employees when their business is gaining momentum,” says the shoppers’ Medium post. “Imagine how bad it will get if the demand for Shipt’s service continues to drop.”