Monday, July 15, 2024
Despite Uber's announcement of a deal with the union selected by Uber in 2022, Toronto drivers are planning a protest on February 14th. Image: RDAO
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“It’s all bullshit” driver says of Uber’s UFCW “agreement”

UFCW called a “yellow union” selected by Uber, not drivers

“It’s all bullshit,” says Uber driver Earla Phillips of Uber’s January 26 announcement of an “agreement” with the organization United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in Canada.

Phillips, an organizer with Rideshare Drivers’ Association of Ontario, points out that the UFCW was not a union supported by Uber drivers, but a union actually “selected” by Uber in 2022.  

“In the states, they’re called ‘Yellow Unions,’ an organization selected by the corporation, not the workers,” points out Phillips, who adds that Uber announced earlier this that it would launch a public relations campaign following Toronto’s lifting of a cap on the number of rideshares permitted to cruise the streets.

“So this announcement is part of Uber’s public relations campaign. Uber announcing an agreement with the United Food and Commercial workers is basically Uber announcing it negotiated an agreement with itself.

“It will mean absolutely nothing to the vast majority of drivers.”

Uber Canada’s head office in Toronto. Protesting drivers will march there from City Hall on February 14th, 2024. Photo: Taxi News

In fact, Uber drivers in Toronto are so unimpressed, they are planning a demonstration in protest of working conditions on February 14th. Drivers in Montreal and Vancouver are considering joining them for a cross-Canada event.

As an example, Phillips points to Uber’s statement on “Upfront fare and destination information.”

“Like delivery people, drivers will soon see more information about trips before accepting them, including the estimated fare and expected destination. These changes will roll out in Ontario and British Columbia later this year,” Uber’s statement reads. Phillips points out that in jurisdictions like Texas where “upfront fare information” is currently being provided, it is only to full-time/’pro drivers’ and these drivers are complaining their payments are being reduced radically as a result of it.

“In our latest surveys, drivers are still earning less than $8 per hour after expenses,” Phillips notes. “Ontario’s new legislation, which was supposed to benefit gig workers, is not even being enforced.”

The Ontario legislation, which was written while one of Uber’s former lobbyists was advising Doug Ford’s government, never defined the term “work” so that the new bill allowed gig companies to avoid having to pay workers for time spent waiting between jobs.

“This is just a PR stunt,” Phillips reiterates.