Walmart Delivery workers represented by groups in the Justice for Apps Worker coalition held a press conference today exposing scam, delivering a letter to the industry giant demanding it takes steps to immediately safeguard customers and workers.
CICERO, IL – Walmart drivers in the Chicago suburb of Cicero who deliver online orders for grocery and retail exposed a widespread technology scam that has resulted in corruption, intimidation, and even death threats.
Spark Drivers Illinois and Sparktans, two worker groups representing Walmart delivery workers in the area who work through the company’s Spark mobile app, announced full details of the group’s investigation into a new predatory scheme uncovered in the last few months. These worker groups are coalition members of Justice For App Workers Illinois, part of a national 130,000 app worker coalition demanding change, including the need for higher wages, safety assurances, and union rights.
The Walmart delivery scam is led by a rogue group of workers who hacked the Spark app to manipulate the company’s online platform to unfairly hoard delivery orders and cut off access for other delivery workers to store orders, making it impossible for them to do their job. Scam leaders behind the app hack have then refused to re-distribute these Walmart digital orders to their fellow delivery drivers unless they pay them with cash or sometimes even through cell phones or marijuana.
Today’s press conference featured firsthand accounts from Walmart delivery drivers who have been victimized by the illegal scam, including the release of never-before-seen video footage exposing scam leaders and their violent intimidation tactics to stop whistleblowers from speaking out about the abuse. Walmart workers demanded that Walmart hold the rogue group accountable and stop the scam.
“I had to work 12 hours a day, for six days to make half as much as I made before,” said Guadalupe Castillo, a Spark driver who has worked for the app for over a year and noticed something was wrong when orders slowed dramatically at the beginning of January.
Spark Drivers Illinois and Sparktans worker-leaders delivered a letter to Walmart after the press conference calling on the company and the Spark app developers to publicly condemn the illegal delivery scam, launch a full investigation by the company to identify all responsible parties, fix the Spark app to stop the unauthorized hack, and launch new cybersecurity measures to prevent future abuse that hurts workers and families.