Uber, Canadian union reach deal to support gig worker benefits, flexibility

·2 min read

By Tina Bellon

Jan 27 (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc on Thursday said it had reached an agreement with Canada's largest services sector union to support the ride-hail and food delivery company's proposal of a benefits fund without altering gig workers' status as independent contractors.

Uber said the agreement with United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW Canada) would also ensure the company's 100,000 Canadian drivers and delivery workers can receive union representation when workers face deactivation of their accounts, or during other disputes with the company.

The union will also meet with Uber on a regular basis to address workers' concerns, Uber said in a blog post https://www.uber.com/en-CA/newsroom/uber-canada-and-ufcw-canada-reach-historic-national-agreement-to-benefit-drivers-and-delivery-people.

Uber and UFCW will jointly lobby Canada's provincial governments to pass labor law reforms that would provide gig workers with a minimum earnings standard, a benefits fund, and access to workers' rights.

Under the agreement, the union will not push for gig workers to be reclassified as employees, but instead support their status as independent contractors - a central conflict in the debate between unions and gig economy companies.

Uber struck a similar deal last year https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/ubers-uk-drivers-gain-collective-bargaining-with-union-recognition-2021-05-26/#:~:text=LONDON%2C%20May%2026%20(Reuters),on%20behalf%20of%20the%20workforce with Britain's GMB union, allowing it to represent up to 70,000 drivers and boosting the power of workers with collective bargaining.

Gig companies have long been criticized for the lack of benefits and protections they offer their independent contractors. Many labor unions, some lawmakers and the Biden administration have said gig workers should be reclassified as employees.

Uber, Lyft Inc, DoorDash Inc and other companies argue the majority of their drivers do not want to be employees, a status the companies say would take away workers' flexibility to sign on and off the apps when desired.

In recent years, Uber has pushed lawmakers across the United States, Canada and the European Union to implement what it refers to as the 'third way' - a compromise that would maintain workers' contractor status, but provide them with some benefits.

California voters in 2020 approved such a compromise model in a decisive win for the companies, dividing the U.S. labor https://www.reuters.com/business/gig-companies-push-state-level-worker-laws-faces-divided-labor-movement-2021-06-09 movement in its strategy towards gig workers. (Reporting by Tina Bellon in Austin, Texas Editing by Paul Simao)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting