Instacart to lay off shoppers in shift to pick-up ordersInstacart on Thursday confirmed it is cutting its workforce of shoppers, including a handful who voted to unionize, as it tailors its grocery shopping and delivery services nearly a year into the pandemic.

The San Francisco-based startup has seen business soar as people avoid grocery stores due to the risk of Covid-19.

It uses in-store staff along with independent “gig workers,” who shop for and deliver groceries, but has been refining its service focusing on orders being ready for pickup at grocery stores instead of being dropped off at customers’ doors.

“As a result of some grocers transitioning to a Partner Pick model, we’ll be winding down our in-store operations at select retailer locations over the coming months,” Instacart said in reply to an AFP inquiry.

“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.”

Instacart employs fewer than 10,000 shoppers who are based at specific grocery stores, and its plan involves 1,877 of them being given the opportunity to apply for the same position with the retailers, according to a letter from a lawyer to a union representing 10 of those employees.

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