Uber, UFCW reach agreement for delivery drivers

Union would provide free representation to more than 100,000

Uber, UFCW reach agreement for delivery drivers

Uber Canada and the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW Canada) have signed a “historic” national agreement that would benefit over 100,000 drivers and delivery people on the Uber platform.

If requested, UFCW Canada will provide free representation to drivers and delivery people who are facing an account deactivation or other account dispute issues, including representation throughout the existing third-party dispute resolution process. 

“In a quintessentially Canadian manner, we’ve come together to find common ground and blaze a new trail towards a better future for app-based workers,” says Andrew Macdonald, senior vice president of global rides and platform at Uber. “Through this agreement, we’re prioritizing what drivers and delivery people tell us they want: enhancing their flexibility to work if, when, and where they want with a stronger voice and new benefits and protections.”

This agreement is just the start in advancing a better future for app-based workers, tweeted Paul Meinema, national president of UFCW Canada.

“Over the past three years, we have worked with and advocated for thousands of drivers across the country regarding their rights, health, and safety. Labour and gig-based companies like Uber have a shared responsibility in addressing these concerns and we are committed through this new agreement with Uber to make it happen for drivers and delivery people.”

In January 2020, UFCW Canada applied to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to unionize more than 300 Uber Black limousine and SUV drivers in Toronto

Several groups were unhappy with recommendations made in a report by the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee (OWRAC) for gig workers. Last month, the committee recommended the creation and recognition of the “dependent contractor” category for gig or platform workers in the app-based space.

Pressing for reforms

Uber Canada and UFCW Canada have also agreed to press provincial governments to enact reforms that provide new benefits and preserve worker choice on when, where and if to work. 

Uber Canada and UFCW Canada will jointly advocate for these industry-wide legislative standards – including minimum earnings standard, a benefits fund, and access to workers’ rights – across the country.

Last summer, Uber released a blueprint for a “Flexible Benefits Fund” that would be enabled by provincial governments and managed by industry for delivery and rideshare app-based platforms.

The blueprint builds on Uber’s Flexible Work+ proposal, which calls on provincial governments to set up an alternative set of regulations to govern gig workers and offer them self-directed benefits and enhanced worker protections.

In August 2021, a $400-million class-action lawsuit launched against Uber was certified by a Canadian court.

Uber then asked drivers in Toronto to sign a contract stating they could not take part in the $400-million lawsuit that seeks to recognize them as employees rather than independent contractors.

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