Wage Theft is the Goal

Shipt, the delivery service owned by Target, is facing a strike over its shift to an algorithm based pay structure, which workers are claiming will cheat them out of pay.

This is no surprise.  Opaque pay structures like this are intended to cheat workers out of their pay:

Workers for the Target-owned grocery delivery service Shipt are striking Wednesday in protest of the company rolling out a less transparent payment structure nationwide.

The walk-off will coincide with the day that the new pay model will take effect in 12 metro areas, including Chicago, Tampa, Richmond, Va., and Portland, Ore.

Shipt shoppers are raising alarm over the change, which they say would likely reduce shopper pay by at least 30 percent based on a similar pay shift that occurred at the end of 2019.

While Shipt previously had a simple model for calculating payouts — a 7.5 percent commission on all orders plus $5 — the model, dubbed V2, rolled out in some markets last year doles out pay based on a black box algorithm.

“We do not like the transparency because we’re not able to calculate or figure out exactly how it is that we’re being compensated,” Willy Solis, one of the strike’s organizers and a shopper in Texas, told The Hill on Monday.


Shipt gig workers’ experiences in areas where the V2 model has been tested do not line up with that claim.

Jeanine Meisner, a veteran shopper in the Kalamazoo, Mich., area told The Hill that she saw an immediate drop in the dollar amount of offers when V2 came to her area.


“For six months now we have tirelessly, endlessly provided screenshots, we’ve called, we’ve texted, we’ve emailed about these lowball offers that we’ve gotten and we’ve got nowhere, we get a cut and pasted response,” she said.

Shoppers across V2 markets felt similar impacts, according to Solis.

“Collectively we joined forces and started keeping tabs and calculating … and shoppers were losing significant money,” he said.

So not a surprise.

This is a feature, not a bug.

Algorithmic pay schemes always end up cheating workers, because they make doing so effortless.

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