Union head urges Uber to recognize drivers as employees

Union calls out Uber

The head of a B.C. local of the United Food and Commercial Workers is urging ride hailing company Uber to recognize drivers as employees.

Kim Novak, president of UFCW Local 1518 in New Westminster issued the plea Friday as Uber applies to the provincial Passenger Transportation Board for the right to expand into Kelowna and Victoria.

In Toronto, Uber Black drivers joined UFCW Canada, and obtained rulings in their favour from the Ontario Supreme Court in their battle to be recognized as employees.

A judge in California also sided with Uber and Lyft drivers, ordering those companies to treat them as employees.

“As Uber continues to expand its services, we renew our call for the company to respect workers’ rights to join a union and to grant them the basic protections that all employees deserve, like a minimum wage and workers’ compensation coverage,” says Novak.

“Ride hailing drivers across North America have been standing up to demand better working conditions and respect from their employers. Uber must treat these workers fairly and in accordance with the law if it wants to continue growing in B.C.” 

Being classified as an employee rather than an independent contractor would afford drivers a minimum wage, vacation pay and WorkSafe BC coverage.

“Across North America, a consensus is emerging that ride hailing companies like Uber and Lyft need to recognize drivers as employees of the company and afford them the same rights and protections that other workers enjoy, such as a minimum wage and the right to join a union,” says Pablo Godoy, UFCW Canada’s national co-ordinator of gig and platform-employer initiatives.

“As Uber moves to expand its services in British Columbia, UFCW is calling on the company to acknowledge drivers as employees, respect their rights as workers, and treat drivers with the dignity they deserve.”

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