TORONTO, Canada – United Food and Commercial Workers Canada are organizing hundreds of Toronto Uber drivers.
According to the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Economic Policy Institute, Uber drivers earn less than $10 an hour once commissions, vehicle expenses, and self-employment taxes are factored in. Low pay continues to be a driving factor for drivers to organize. Uber and Lyft drivers in the USA have rquested union membership and collective bargaining to address low wages. Efforts to organize have been stymied in the United States by the National Labor Relations Board and in Canada by a regulatory board.
Uber&Lyft drivers are fighting for three main grievances in both Canada and the States: the implementation of an across-the-board minimum wage of $15 an hour, the allowance of basic worker benefits (including sick days, vacation days, and mid-shift breaks), and an end to the app’s user-based ratings system, which penalizes drivers without recourse.
UFCW Canada’s national president, Paul Meinema, said that Uber drivers are part of a new digital economy where workers “need strong union protections to shape the future of the gig economy employment.”UFCW’s is now challenging the existing labor legislation in Canada that has allowed tech companies like Uber to “skirt due process.” Hundreds of Uber drivers have signed union cards in Toronto.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, there were over 90,000 rideshare drivers from several companies operating in Toronto in June. The push to unionize from UFCW comes as Toronto’s city council is considering legislation allowing unionizing drivers.