Uber Canada’s unilateral proposal is “a dangerous proposition” says Uber workers’ union

Drivers reject Uber Canada’s proposal as a cynical ploy that ignores union rights

TORONTO, March 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- UFCW Canada, the union organizing Uber drivers and Uber Eats couriers across the country, says Uber Canada’s recent proposal to provincial governments to set up an alternative set of regulations to govern gig workers that Uber calls ‘Flexible Work’, is really Uber flexing and dodging the fact that Uber is the employer, and its workers are employees who are entitled to the full protection and rights under current labour laws, including the right to unionize,” says Paul Meinema, the national president of UFCW Canada (United Food and Commercial Workers union), which currently represents hundreds of Uber drivers.

“This cynical ploy about so-called benefits shows how desperate Uber is to maintain control over its employees and avoid any meaningful conversations in regard to their employees’ rights to collective bargaining,” says Meinema.

On the heels of a recent Supreme Court judgement in the UK which ruled that Uber drivers are in fact employees, Uber recently announced their proposal for changes to Canadian provincial labour laws to provide gig workers some benefits, while still declaring those workers as independent contractors, not employees.

“This is just Uber’s latest tactic to circumvent the labour laws and deny Uber workers the same rights as other workers,” says Pablo Godoy, the union’s national coordinator for Gig and Platform Employer Initiatives. “The idea that employers like Uber would like to unilaterally impose business models is not only a dangerous proposition. It also ignores decades of hard-fought legislation meant to protect workers.”

Across Canada, UFCW Canada is hearing from drivers that they feel that Uber’s recent announcement ignores their calls for meaningful representation, union protection and access to basic labour laws. “If Uber wants to give drivers protections, they should recognize our union and respond to the issues we have raised over the years,” says Ejaz Butt, a Toronto-based Uber driver and UFCW Canada union member.

Similar sentiments are being echoed in Alberta, where Uber Eats courier Mark McCormack explains that “Uber has continually ignored our needs, and its proposal to create a system for protection without consulting its employees on how that should work is disappointing.”

For decades, platform employers have been using technology to undermine workers’ rights to fair and decent employment and employee status — including access to minimum standards, statutory benefits like a pension and Employment Insurance, and just as importantly, the right to join a union.

Since launching the Uber Drivers United (www.ufcw.ca/uber) campaign in 2019, UFCW has become the leading voice for ride-hailing drivers in Canada, bringing union membership to hundreds of Uber Black drivers in Toronto and spearheading organizing efforts in British Columbia, as well as other parts of the country. To learn more about the campaign to bring justice and fairness to Uber and other ride hailing drivers, visit UFCW’s Uber Drivers United website (www.ufcw.ca/uber).

About UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada is the country’s leading private sector union, representing more than 250,000 union members across Canada working in food retail and processing, transportation, health care, logistics, warehousing, agriculture, hospitality, manufacturing, and the security and professional sectors. UFCW is the country's most innovative organization dedicated to building fairness in workplaces and communities. UFCW Canada members are your neighbours who work at your local grocery stores, hotels, airport food courts, taxi firms, car rental agencies, nursing homes, restaurants, food processing plants, and thousands of other locations across the country. To find out more about UFCW and its ground-breaking work, visit www.ufcw.ca.

Contact Information

Pablo Godoy
National Coordinator of Gig and Platform-Employer Initiatives
UFCW Canada