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Gopuff drivers are demanding better treatment from the growing delivery giant. Photo: GoPuff

Gopuff drivers strike for 24-hours for better pay and working conditions

The Philadelphia-based delivery giant will see crowds outside its headquarters at Third and Spring Garden and have its promised delivery times put in jeopardy.

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On Tuesday, Nov. 23, hundreds of Gopuff drivers across the country are going on strike in demand of better pay and working conditions. 

Sage Wilson, a spokesperson for the pro-labor group Working Washington, which has organized drivers, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that drivers who deliver beer, snacks and toiletries from dozens of facilities will refuse to work for 24 hours. 

Dozens of drivers are also expected to demonstrate outside of Gopuff’s Philadelphia headquarters near Third and Spring Garden Streets. 

Dozens of facilities would make up only a fraction of the firm’s 500 fulfillment centers nationwide, but the strike would be the most substantial action yet by drivers who are mostly independent contractors. Organizers said that even a small number of unfilled shifts could disrupt the company’s half-hour delivery promise. 

Over the Summer, the company cut minimum hourly pay rates that it guarantees scheduled drivers, and reduced some bonuses for delivering higher numbers of orders. Yet it raised billions of dollars from investors and expanded across the globe, recently launching in the U.K. 

“We’re human and we deserve to be paid for the effort that we put in,” Canadace Hinson, a Gopuff driver at its Manayunk facility, told the Philadelphia Inquirer

“We deserve for all of us to be compensated appropriately,” she said. 

Working Washington says that Gopuff driver’s wages across the country have been slashed, some by nearly $2 per hour. Workers are demanding a minimum mandated hourly wage of $20, alongside the cost of mileage. 

Ahead of the strike, GoPuff officials sent out an email to their drivers, offering free snacks as an incentive to keep working. The email, which was posted to Working Washington’s Twitter page on Saturday, Nov. 20, expresses gratitude for workers doing early morning and late night shifts. 

Yalewa Melvin, a Philadelphia-based Gopuff driver, told Vice News that she loved the job when she first started, but she became frustrated after watching her base pay, which was originally $12 per hour, drop to $8.50. 

Melvin had been saving for her wedding but the changes left her rushing to figure something else out. The company only told her retroactively that all pay rates are not permanent. 

“You never said it was temporary when you offered it to us,” Melvin said. 

Gopuff drivers told VICE that although they report to human managers, they don’t receive the typical benefits that usually accompany these jobs, such as overtime pay and unemployment benefits.

They also say that shifts can disappear so quickly on Thursday that they feel pressured to grab whatever they can, making the idea of flexibility less of a reality.

“They say they offer flexibility, but treat us like employees — minus the protections,” the participating workers state on a site promoting the strike. “If GoPuff calls us independent contractors, they shouldn't let warehouse managers decide on terminating us.”

Gopuff has said the vast majority of its workers earn more than the minimum guaranteed rates that it cut this year in facilities across the country. But Philadelphia drivers said the company’s changes have led to less overall pay. 

In Manayunk, Gopuff cut the hourly earnings floor from $12 to $7.75 in September, according to company emails. A weekly bonus for delivering 120 orders dropped from $110 to $75 in Manayunk too, according to smartphone screenshots. A company email from October told drivers that the bonuses can now change weekly. 

The rally outside the company’s headquarters will be titled “Gopuff yourself,” but it’s not just a subtle way to curse at the company. 

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