Culture

Alberstons And Its Subsidiaries Are Set To Replace Delivery Drivers With Gig Contractors

The grocery chain Albertsons along with its subsidiaries (which include Pavilions and Vons), will discontinue their in-house grocery delivery services in late February in favor of third-party delivery apps in part of California and other states. Business Insider reports that the stores will now rely on gig contractors from services like DoorDash for future grocery deliveries, a move that appears largely influenced by the passage of California Proposition 22, which exempted app-based food delivery services and rideshare companies from having to follow existing California labor protections.

Prior to Prop 22’s passage — which was aided by a $200 million campaign paid for by DoorDash, Lyft, Instacart, Uber, and Postmates — Albertsons was required to supply its delivery drivers with a minimum wage, healthcare coverage, and provide other protections under California labor law, none of which they will now have to do for third-party workers. Albertsons spokesperson Andrew Whelan confirmed the move in a statement released yesterday:

“In early December, Albertsons Companies made the strategic decision to discontinue using our own home delivery fleet of trucks in select locations… we will transition that portion of our eCommerce operations to third-party logistics providers who specialize in that service.”

According to Knock-LA, employees were notified of the move over the holidays, making the use of the word “strategic” feel particularly ironic. In 2020, Albertsons earned $38.5 billion in revenue between the end of February and mid-September, a 17% increase over the previous year, and ended their $2 per hour extra hazard pay for workers back in June, despite the fact that coronavirus was by now means under control in the company’s key states.

Many took to Twitter to air their anger at Albertsons and its subsidiaries, but mostly at the passage of Proposition 22, which labor experts fear will continue to devastate quality jobs in favor of investor profits.

While it remains to be seen just how devastating Proposition 22 will actually be, the companies that benefit from it have wasted no time at jumping at the chance to change some of their practices. The Los Angeles Times reports that Grubhub made a recent tweak that changes how customers are prompted to tip delivery drivers, a move which many drivers feel discourages tipping, affecting their potential earnings. Grubhub’s tipping prompt — which now defaults to $0 — reads “leave an optional tip on top of Driver benefits,” and was implemented after the company rolled out new fees for customers in California to help cover the cost of the new driver benefits included in the passage of Prop 22, essentially passing the cost of “new” worker’s benefits to their customers.

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