Instacart is cutting almost 2,000 jobs including a group of employees who formed the first union at the company

Instacart is cutting almost 2,000 jobs including a group of employees who formed the first union at the company
Instacart is slashing about 2,000 jobs.Photo by Nick Otto for the Washington Post/Getty Images
  • Instacart plans to cut 1,877 jobs no sooner than March, Bloomberg reported.
  • The move includes the only unionized Instacart workers in the US.
  • The delivery platform is looking to hand its technology off to grocery stores to prepare orders.

Online grocery delivery platform Instacart said it will slash almost 2,000 jobs, including its only unionized workers, in an effort to shift to new models in which grocery store workers will help fill customer orders, Bloomberg reported.

The company will slash 1,877 jobs no sooner than March, it told Bloomberg. The jobs being terminated include the 10 employees from the Kroger-owned Mariano's in Illinois who were first to unionize in February 2020, according to The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

Instacart's list of independent contractors rose quickly during the pandemic to more than 500,000 people who grocery shop and then deliver orders to customers. In 2015, Bloomberg reported that the company would hire some permanent part-time employees in order to improve the quality of orders by requiring training and supervision.
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Now, the company is wanting to do the opposite. It's looking to shift to new models, in which it hands off its technology to grocery store workers to prepare customer orders. With some grocers opting to move to the "partner pick" model, Instacart told Insider it will wind down in-store operations at some retailer locations in the coming months.

"We know this is an incredibly challenging time for many as we move through the COVID-19 crisis, and we're doing everything we can to support in-store shoppers through this transition," a spokesperson told Insider in an emailed statement.

Instacart said it will offer options to employees such as transferring shoppers to other retail locations with open in-store shopping roles, work with retailers to hire for roles they're looking to fill, and provide employees with separation packages based on their tenure.
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Read more: Experts lay out how Instacart, Walmart, and other retail ad sellers can take on Amazon in digital advertising

The UCFW, which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, meatpacking, and other frontline industries, condemned the move, saying grocery workers "have been vital to protecting food access for Americans during the pandemic." UCFW, which represents the only 10 unionized employees at the company, called on Instacart to halt its plans to terminate workers. "With COVID-19 outbreaks spiraling out of control, it is outrageous that Instacart would fire these courageous and hard-working men and women keeping our food supply secure," the group said in a statement.
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