Nov 24, 2021 - Business

Drivers for Philadelphia-based Gopuff stage 24-hour strike

A driver for the delivery company Gopuff strikes outside the company's headquarters holding a sign that reads #gopuffyourself and #payup.

A Gopuff driver holds a sign during a strike in front of the company's Philadelphia headquarters Tuesday. Photo: Mike D'Onofrio/Axios

Drivers for Philadelphia-based Gopuff staged a one-day strike on Tuesday for better wages and working conditions.

Why it matters: The valuation of Gopuff — a convenience store that delivers everything from groceries to White Claws to your door — has skyrocketed to $15 billion this year. And the company could potentially go public soon, Reuters reported in March.

  • But some warn that worker conditions have recently nosedived, said Sage Wilson, a spokesperson for the pro-labor group Working Washington.

Driving the news: Gopuff gig workers refused to work scheduled shifts at warehouses in states throughout the country Tuesday.

  • Several hundred drivers took part in the daylong strike, said Wilson, whose group helped organize the walkout.
  • They're demanding a $20 minimum wage, guaranteed minimum working hours, and protection from unfair termination, among other things.

State of play: Gopuff, the brainchild of Drexel University graduates, has a dozen facilities in the Philadelphia region and more than 500 across the U.S., where online orders are packaged and prepared.

  • Delivery drivers, who are independent contractors, earn on average between $18-$25 an hour, the company said in a released statement.
  • Nearly 70% of drivers choose to work fewer than 20 hours a week, said Gopuff spokesperson Kayla Whaling.

What they're saying: "It's super important for workers to have a piece of that future, and to make sure that when companies are building new business models … [they] include decent pay and decent conditions for people doing the work," Wilson said.

Sharon Wildman, a Philadelphia Gopuff driver who took part in a protest outside of the company's headquarters at 3rd and Spring Garden streets, said she struggles to make $500 in a week working full time.

  • "We're out here struggling just to pay our bills," she said.

The other side: Whaling said the company listens to the "feedback of delivery partners." She added, "It's something that's incredibly important to us."

  • The tech start-up is working to offer drivers discounts on vehicle maintenance, fuel and phones.
  • A spokesperson said the company didn't see any significant impacts across the country due to the strike.

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