Uber drivers in Toronto join union to gain worker rights

Published: June 30, 2019

Updated: August 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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Drivers around the world are increasingly angry at the terms of their working relationship with ride-sharing giant Uber. Among the gripe include long hours, no basic worker protections, low pay, and little support. Uber argues it is merely a technology platform that connects drivers with passengers, so drivers are not actually employees.

However, several successful movements have wrestled more rights from Uber in favour of drivers. Now, a group of Uber drivees are aiming for more control by starting a good old-fashioned union.

Announced on Monday, Uber drivers in Toronto confirmed they will join the United Food and Commercial Workers, a union comprised of 250,000 people. The trade union is available in Canada and the United States and now has Toronto Uber drivers as members.

According to Pablo Godoy, a UFCW Canada spokesperson, the number of drivers that have joined is in the “high hundreds”.

All the drivers hope they can use union power to create working standards with Uber that are closer to traditional working situations for taxi drivers. Among the changes they hope for a sick days, minimum wages, vacation days, proper break standards, and more. Uber also has a deactivation system where they can remove drivers (essentially firing them) without any system of rights.

“Today is the beginning of a process that we’re embarking on. The first step of that process is to call Uber come to the table,” Godoy said.

Uber has yet to respond to the situation. The company may attempt to argue drivers are working for multiple providers, but Godoy says that means little.

“Having multiple employers does not mean that you’re not an employee of the company that you drive or work for,” Godoy stated.