Briefing

Court grants Foodora couriers the right to unionize

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The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has ruled that a fleet of Foodora couriers in Toronto are dependent, rather than independent, contractors, and therefore have the right to join a union. The group held a union vote in August 2019, but the votes have been sealed, pending the outcome of the OLRB case. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The board’s decision hinged largely on couriers having little autonomy: they cannot negotiate pay or contracts, for example, and Foodora controls what shifts they have access to and prevents them from sub-contracting work. The ruling is considered a landmark decision for app-based gig workers who have historically had few tools to negotiate their pay, working conditions and benefits. It gives Foodora couriers the green light to count their union votes; if the group has the support of at least 40 per cent of the Toronto workforce, it will form the second app-based workers’ union in North America, after Instacart shoppers in Chicago voted to unionize earlier this month.