Hundreds of Toronto Uber Drivers Unionize to Fight for Better Pay and Working Conditions

Hundreds of Uber drivers in Toronto have joined a union in the hopes of improving their working conditions with the ride-sharing company.

According to a new press release, United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW) announced that hundreds of Uber drivers in Toronto have joined the union.

Some 300 drivers working with Uber’s top-tier service will now be represented by UFCW, a private sector union with 250,000 members across a broad spectrum of Canadian industries. The move comes as city council prepares to overhaul by-laws for private transportation companies, including ride-hailing services and the taxi industry.

The drivers are asking for an end to the app’s user-based ratings system, which they say causes drivers to disregard road safety. They are also asking to be paid minimum wage, sick and vacation days, as well as an overhaul of the deactivation system that effectively allows Uber to fire drivers without recourse.

“Really what we’re asking for at its core is basic respect, basic fair treatment, and just the ability for drivers to be able to keep making a living without being subject to unfair practices,” said Pablo Godoy, the national coordinator for gig and platform-employer initiatives for UFCW Canada.

“Ride-sharing platforms are able to circumvent labour law under the guise of claiming to be a tech company rather than an employer,” continued Godoy, promising more details later in the week.

Despite the numbers, the Uber drivers in Toronto that have joined are not certified as union members just yet, which means Uber is not obligated to come to the table or even listen to their complaints.

Godoy says those who have signed up are still a part of the collective and UFCW is prepared to represent them, knowing it will be a lengthy process.

“We’re here for the long haul. We’re really here to support workers, as long as it takes, to ensure that their rights are protected so that the framework is created that allows them to access their basic labour rights,” he said.