Thousands of Postmates delivery drivers on strike, demanding hazard pay, sick leave and safety protections

Posted at 10:18 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 23:15:02-04

BALTIMORE — Thousands of Postmates delivery drivers are on strike, protesting for better pay and safety protections during the coronavirus pandemic.

The drivers, who are participating in the strike that’s being called a #Guacoff, are also refusing to deliver food for Chipotle, which is one of the company’s biggest partners.

“The amount of money people get to do a Chipotle delivery is about the same Chipotle charges for a scoop of guacamole,” Sage Wilson, who works for Working Washington, a non-profit that’s helped organize the strike.

Wilson says drivers are sometimes making as little as $2 per delivery. He also says the company is failing to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to drivers during the pandemic.

“We think these companies really have an obligation to make sure that workers are getting hazard pay, have access to sick days and have safety protections like masks and gloves,” said Wilson.

Collin Campbell, who has been driving for Postmates for the past two years, says he bought his own PPE, and claims the company refused to reimburse him.

He also says he’s lucky to make $7 per hour delivering food for the company.

Campbell says that not enough for a job he feels puts him more at risk of getting the virus.

“In my mind, they’re acting like we’re expendable like we’re just replaceable,” he said,

A Postmates spokeswoman said the company has been providing PPE and financial relief for drivers through their “Fleet Relief Fund”, which the company says is setup to help drivers struggling during the pandemic.

“We continue to offer childcare, income coverage if you're sick or caring for a loved one, money for doctors appointments or urgent care visits, free safety gear, PPE and more through our Fleet Relief Fund,” the Postmates spokesperson said. "We will continue to work directly with our fleet and worker-advocacy groups to ensure we are continuing to support essential workers at this time. Including doing our best to continue to pay couriers liveable wages, currently the average courier earns about $25 per hour, even against a backdrop of legislation in some cities that is forcing companies like Postmates to operate below cost.”

The strike began on Wednesday and will continue through May 1.