Foodora workers in Ontario just won the right to unionize
After an endless battle between Foodora workers and the company that employs them, the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled today that couriers are dependent contractors and therefore have the legal right to organize and certify a union.
Up until today's ruling, workers were considered to be independent contractors by Foodora — which prevented them from unionizing and allowed the company to avoid certain employer responsibilities.
Couriers have long complained about Foodora's failure to recognize several of their rights as workers, such as health and safety protections and a fair compensation model.
The newly released ruling from labour board vice-chair Matthew Wilson states that "the courier is a mere cog in the wheel that is powered by Foodora" and that "as the evidence bears out, couriers more closely resemble employees than independent contractors."
"The couriers are selected by Foodora and required to deliver food on the terms and conditions determined by Foodora in accordance with Foodora’s standards," the ruling continues, "In a very real sense, the couriers work for Foodora, and not themselves."
In other words, the labour board has now confirmed what Foodora workers have been saying for months.
"This decision shows that the tide is turning towards justice for thousands of gig workers in Ontario and soon these workers will have the right to their union," said the national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), Jan Simpson, in a statement.
"CUPW is proud to be part of challenging the big app-based employers, and reshaping the future of work in favour of workers’ rights, safety and respect."
Today's ruling not only clears the way for couriers to receive better treatment, it also sets a precedent for other gig workers to be able to demand the same in the future.
"This decision sets a historic precedent for precarious workers," said Ryan White, the lawyer who fought on behalf of Foodora workers, in the same statement.
Following the board's ruling earlier today, Foodora released a statement of their own saying that they've received the decision and are assessing how they'll move forward with their couriers in Toronto and Mississauga.
"Until the voter list is confirmed, and the unionization application votes are counted, we cannot speculate at this time as to whether the vote will sway in favour of CUPW and what this might mean for our business moving forward," said David Albert, managing director of Foodora Canada, in the statement.
"Right now, it’s business as usual."
But it's not quite business as usual for the couriers who have worked tirelessly to win this fight.
"We’ve put a lot of work into this campaign because we know how much is on the line," said Foodora courier Ivan Ostos in CUPW's statement.
He adds: "This victory belongs not just to us, but to many gig workers who have dangerous and precarious conditions, who lack security, who have no voice in their working conditions — who need a union."
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