‘Through conversations, companionship, and the dedication of hard-working foodsters we came together to achieve something many said was impossible’
A huge majority (88.8 per cent) of Foodora couriers and drivers in Toronto and Mississauga voted in favour of unionization with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), becoming the first app-based workforce in Canada to do so.
"People said gig workers can't be organized, but these workers just proved that you can," said Jan Simpson, CUPW National President. "Just because Foodora left, doesn't take away what these workers achieved. They have paved the way for all precarious workers to gain rights and unionize, and we are honoured to stand by them and support them, and all other gig workers in the struggles to come."
The Ontario Labour Relations Board unsealed and counted the ballots nine months after the union certification vote, after it ruled in February that Foodora couriers are dependent contractors. It also came after Foodora announced its exit from Canada in April.
The vote is “the culmination of an over year-long unionization campaign by dedicated riders and drivers fighting for respect as workers, better health and safety protections and fair compensation for the work they perform,” said CUPW. A hearing related to the union drive of Foodora workers began on Sept. 10, 2019.
"The truth is free – we are a union and we deserve respect and rights from our employer," says Iván Ostos, a courier who has worked on the unionization campaign from the very beginning. "Many doubted that workers in this era wanted or needed a union. Through conversations, companionship, and the dedication of hard-working foodsters we came together to achieve something many said was impossible. I am so thankful for all the couriers that dedicated themselves to this campaign"
The union also noted that, through the vote, gig economy workers have made it clear that the status quo does not work and change is coming to the gig economy.
In May, CUPW called on the federal government to ‘protect’ Foodora workers after the delivery service announced it is leaving the Canadian market amid the COVID-19 pandemic.