The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada), the union for Uber drivers in Canada, will be participating in an Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) hearing tomorrow that could help Uber Black drivers in Toronto take one more step towards full union representation at work.
The hearing comes after more than 300 Uber Black limousine and SUV drivers working in and out of Toronto Pearson International Airport and downtown Toronto became the first ride-sharing workers in Canada to apply for unionization in January of this year.
At issue in the hearing, which will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be the scope of the bargaining unit and whether Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors. The union believes it has met the threshold of support needed to gain certification as the official bargaining agent of drivers, while the employer is disputing the scope of the bargaining unit. The union also holds that drivers are employees of Uber and not independent contractors, as the company claims.
“The rights of Uber drivers are still being abused, and we continue to be taken advantage of,” says Irfan Muhammad, a Toronto-based Uber Black driver who supports unionization. “COVID-19 has made matters worse by significantly reducing demand for rides, which means that drivers like myself are facing a massive loss of income.”
“We need union representation to help ensure that we are paid for the hours that we work, to provide just cause protection so that drivers do not lose their jobs from a single bad rating, and to make sure that we are treated fairly as business returns and we start to come out of this crisis,” Muhammad adds.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, UFCW Canada has surveyed Uber drivers to gauge their concerns and has engaged the federal government to advocate for wage subsidies for ride-hailing drivers who have been impacted by the coronavirus.
Since launching the Uber Drivers United campaign in 2019, UFCW has become the leading voice for ride hailing drivers in Canada, signing up 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.
UFCW Canada represents more than 250,000 union members across the country working in food retail and processing, transportation, health, 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.