East New York

Instacart-Amazon breakup will disrupt 44 jobs at Brooklyn Whole Foods

April 3, 2019 Scott Enman
Instacart will offer new jobs to more than 75 percent of all impacted employees, including those in Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of Instacart

75 percent of affected employees to be relocated

Instacart will lay off 44 people from its Whole Foods locations in Williamsburg and East New York next month, a consequence of the upscale market’s decision to dissolve its partnership with the grocery delivery service in December.

A WARN notice published in March states that 43 part-time employees would be losing their jobs at the 240 Bedford Ave. Whole Foods on May 11, and one part-time employee will lose his or her job at the East New York location at 2101 Pennsylvania Ave.

Instacart is legally required to file a WARN notice since those positions at Whole Foods will no longer exist, but it’s not all bad news for those affected by the layoffs.

Instacart will be offering new in-store shopper jobs to more than 75 percent of all impacted employees. The majority of those affected in Brooklyn will be placed at one of the more than 30 retailers that work with Instacart in the five boroughs.

For employees who are transferred, Instacart will also offer a transfer bonus, and for all workers who are not placed in a new roll, they will receive a three-month separation package based on their maximum monthly pay since January 2018 and additional tenure based compensation.

“Further to our announcement in December, Instacart and Whole Foods Market are continuing to wind down their relationship,” Instacart told the Brooklyn Eagle in a statement. “For our remaining in-store Whole Foods shoppers that are impacted by this news, we’re deeply committed to supporting them through this transition in several ways.

“We’ve already shared this news directly with all impacted in-store Whole Foods shoppers and our broader shopper community, and want to thank our shoppers for all of their continued dedication to providing a great service for our customers,” the statement added.

Since Amazon bought Whole Foods in August 2017 for $13.7 billion, according to Reuters, Instacart’s relationship with its parent company has been strained as the tech giant sought to bolster its own delivery program Prime Now.

“Amazon’s intent from day one … was to integrate Whole Foods with its own grocery-delivery efforts such as Amazon Fresh and Prime Now,” Tom Forte, an analyst with D.A. Davidson told Reuters.

Amazon offers free one-hour and two-hour delivery of household items and essentials in Brooklyn while Instacart lists its delivery time in the borough as “as fast as 1 hour.”

Instacart Chief Executive Officer Apoorva Mehta said in December that roughly 350 of its 1,415 part-time delivery employees at 76 Whole Foods locations would be laid off once the separation between the two businesses began in February.

“Whole Foods Market and Instacart have mutually agreed to end their partnership for delivery services effective May 15,” Whole Foods told the Eagle in a statement. “The companies are working together to ensure a smooth transition.”

Whole Foods will continue to offer Instacart delivery services through mid May.

Instacart uses “pickers” to prepare grocery orders at stores before handing them off to delivery drivers. The company, which was founded in 2012, is based in San Francisco and also delivers groceries from Brooklyn Fare, Fairway, Key Food, Costco, CVS, and Petco, among others.

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.

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