Simply put: There are enormous economic and societal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that we won’t fully understand for years, if not decades or longer.
The obvious effects that we’ve already seen have been monumental, with record-breaking unemployment, a massive collapse of the smaller side of the restaurant industry, and food lines like we haven’t seen since the great depression.
On top of that, legislators around the nation are hastily putting together laws and ordinances that are unduly hurting Americans living paycheck to paycheck.
In California, a piece of legislation that removed protections for gig workers, (ie: Uber, Doordash, Instacart, etc), has now made it unfeasible for one of the state’s largest grocers to maintain its fleet of delivery drivers.
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Albertsons and some of its subsidiaries, including Vons and Pavilions, are discontinuing their in-house delivery services in parts of California and other states starting in February. The grocery chains will instead rely more heavily on third-party delivery apps, including DoorDash, to handle grocery deliveries, local news outlet KNOCK reported Monday.
“In early December, Albertsons Companies made the strategic decision to discontinue using our own home delivery fleet of trucks in select locations, including Southern California, beginning February 27, 2021,” Albertsons spokesperson Andrew Whelan told Business Insider.
“We will transition that portion of our eCommerce operations to third-party logistics providers who specialize in that service. Our HR teams are working to place impacted associates in stores, plants, and distribution centers,” Whelan said.
When we look closer at the story, we find something even more sinister:
The move comes weeks after a new California law went into effect that eliminated labor protections for app-based food delivery workers and rideshare drivers, which was authored and bankrolled by gig companies.
As DoorDash, Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and Postmates waged a $200 million battle last year to pass the bill, known as Proposition 22, they pointed to “independent” research claiming it would save as many as 900,000 jobs across the state (it turned out the companies had paid a combined $411,599 to the researchers behind the study).
Should this sort of pattern continue, in which gig work replaces otherwise full or part-time jobs in other industries, there is no doubt that it would be usher in ever more wealth disparity in our already-struggling nation.
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