Calling for fair pay, respect from employer
Amidst a unionization drive that has seen hundreds of Uber drivers in Toronto join United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) Canada, Uber drivers and their union held a media conference on June 26 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in downtown Toronto to discuss the challenges that drivers are facing and the redress that they and their union are seeking from Uber.
At the conference, drivers spoke about the host of issues that make driving for Uber a low-paying, unfair and at times unsafe job, said the union.
For example, Uber drivers do not get paid sick days, vacation days or extended health coverage and they must cover their own fuel and repair costs. They also have no access to worker’s compensation if they are injured at work and when operating costs and hours of work are accounted for, often make below minimum wage, said UFCW.
“Uber calls us partners, but we have absolutely no say about our working conditions, or even being able to take a bathroom break,” said Ejaz Butt, an Uber driver who helped start the union drive at the conference. “We know we make a lot of money for Uber, but in return we get treated like we don’t matter.”
Butt was joined by other Uber drivers who are seeking fair pay and respect from their employer, said the union.
“Companies like Uber, who can hire and fire drivers and fully dictate the terms of employment, should be held accountable for the well-being of their employees,” said Paul Meinema, national president of UFCW Canada. “Uber is the employer. The drivers are employees. The technology is just a management tool and the company should adhere to our labour laws”
In addition to issues surrounding pay, benefits, and health and safety, drivers have also expressed concerns about harassment from customers and unfair rating systems that can lead to drivers being removed from the Uber platform through no fault of their own, said UFCW.