BC Labour Board asked to declare Uber & Lyft as employers – UFCW 1518

Vancouver – November 30, 2019 – UFCW Canada Local 1518 has filed an application with the Labour Relations Board of BC to have Uber and Lyft drivers classified as employees.  Right now, drivers for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft are classified as independent contractors, which denies them coverage under the Employment Standards Act as well as the right to unionize.

“We have reviewed the terms of Lyft and Uber’s agreements and in our assessment they are in violation of BC labour laws,” says the UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “They are asking drivers in BC to sign contracts that require them not to engage in collective actions. This is completely unacceptable. Many jurisdictions have scrambled to protect workers after the fact; we want to make sure that workers are protected before ride hailing services launch.”

Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are preparing to launch their services in B.C. within months. The UFCW 1518 application to have ride-hailing companies classified as employers was filed on November 27.

A UFCW Canada campaign to secure justice for Uber drivers is also underway in Ontario, where hundreds of Toronto Uber drivers have joined as members of UFCW Canada. “Rather than comply with the law, these ride hailing companies ignore it and that is completely unacceptable here in BC, Ontario or any jurisdiction” says Pablo Godoy, UFCW Canada’s UFCW Canada’s national director of gig and platform employer initiatives. “Ride-hailing drivers are employees who deserve the same rights and protections as all workers – including the right to unionize and bargain collectively.”

The Local 1518 campaign is supported by the BC Federation of Labour, which is also demanding that as a condition of operating, all ride-hailing companies must acknowledge that drivers are employees. “There is no doubt that deeming drivers to be employees would ensure a safer ride for everyone – driver and passenger – because this is also a public safety issue,” says President Novak.

UFCW Local 1518 represents 24,000 members working in the community health, service, retail, industrial, and professional sectors across British Columbia. To find out more about the outstanding work of UFCW 1518, visit www.ufcw1518.com.