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June 16, 2020

Dearest foodsters, friends and allies,

It has been 321 days since couriers marched into the Foodora office with the documents in hand to file for union certification on July 31st, 2019.

On Friday, the Ontario Labour Relations Board opened the ballot box and counted the votes. We are so pleased to announce that Foodora couriers overwhelmingly voted YES to unionize with a loud and clear 90% in favour!

This is huge. We foodsters came together to ensure our voices were heard and our rights recognized. We have shown app based employers in the gig economy that couriers know their rights as workers and are ready to fight for them!

To our fellow couriers - thank you for volunteering your time and energy; for taking time to talk to other couriers about the issues we all face and what they wanted to change, for bringing media attention to our fight, and for talking to customers and restaurant staff about supporting Foodsters United.

We all envisioned a future where our workplace was better, and working together, improved the quality of our day to day lives. We had socials, workshops, and voted on decisions we, as workers made. You are part of building this community.

To our allies and supporters in the labour movement, customers, restaurants and beyond: thank you for your ongoing solidarity and support. From order-in days, to rallies, sitting through labour board hearings, to letters of support and public pressure - you kept us afloat and we are forever grateful. We could not have gone this far without the solidarity you expressed for this movement.

What does this mean:

First, this sets a precedent for all gig workers organizing; we proved that independent contractor status is bogus at the Ontario Labour Relations Board. We proved that couriers can get a union, and with the yes votes we proved that couriers want a union!

We proved that organizing workers with no central worksite, across differences of opinion, circumstance, and the entire city, can and must be done by workers themselves – that creative new ways of organizing are possible. Foodora was only one fish in a big school, and this sends the message that nothing is impossible when we stand together.

Second, as a certified union we have the legal ability to assert our rights as a collective to ensure workers receive those basic protections that we fought so hard for, including termination pay and government income support.

Even though Foodora is gone, us workers are still going to organize, take care of each other and fight for what we need. Foodsters United will continue to grow and empower the hard working couriers of the GTA. We will continue to build worker power across all platforms in the gig economy. We have built a community from the ground up. In such uncertain times, workers continue to face uncertainty and exploitation, so we must continue pushing against those forces and for the kind of justice that all precarious workers desperately need and deserve.

We accomplished this together, with our power as riders and drivers, newcomers and veterans, workers from Scarborough to Brampton supported each other and built power. It’s only the beginning, a beautiful bud about to flower that is the power of labour.

🎵
In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold
Greater than the might of atoms magnified a thousand-fold
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
For the union makes us strong!
🎶

Solidarity Forever,
Foodsters United, CUPW Courier Local 104

Foodster Testimonials on Foodora's May 11 Departure

Letters of Support >>

 

Foodster: Tom

"Union organizing is an opportunity to change the work lives of fellow couriers and this is a truly amazing thing. Foodora should have accepted us and recognize us – then just sat down and talked with us. With Foodora leaving, I’ve lost a major part of my income - 40-50 per cent of my summer income. It’s a shame. I lost my flexibility, because I can only work for Uber. I don’t accept Foodora’s decision, the way they did it, and the short notice they gave. It’s bullshit. Over all the whole gig economy should be taken a lot more seriously, especially looking at how big of a role it’s playing in the economy and where the economy is going. The government should consider being a food courier a proper job with all the benefits and protections that go with it. Food couriers should be recognized by the government as workers who deserve dental benefits and a pension. No one wants to take responsibility, but the government should step in and act like the responsible adult."

- Tom

-
Foodster: Phillip

"For me I became a courier as a stop gap. It has helped me through transitions at work, both positive and negative. It was a way for me to make some extra cash, get exercise, get outside, learn the city and my bike. I don't do well in office settings and this job has allowed me to avoid, what to me, the mundanity of office work. Working for foodora in the beginning was fun for all these reasons. And fun because they made an attempt to create a community. Unfortunately foodora became increasingly less interested in in couriers. We became expendable. When their pay started to be left behind compared to other platforms instead of becoming competitive they made it hard to get shifts. They stopped creating a welcoming atmosphere for couriers new and old. Foodsters United became the community that foodora was not creating. People who were fed up with they way we were being treated but still say the value in foodora. In the twilight months of foodora, they became increasingly distant. Going so far as to not care about courier harassment and discrimination. Will I miss foodora? I already do, as the company I first joined, had left long ago."

- Phillip

Foodster: Chris

"The union and it's activities gave me the safe space I needed to engage with my community, something I have wanted to do for a very long time, and when I heard of Foodora's announcement to shut down I was stunned. It was hard to think that I would have to try and find work with one of the other courier outfits knowing how none of them would be as pleasant and secure to work for as Foodora. I also felt betrayed by a company that so many had given their time and energy to, building it into the premiere food delivery service that it became. ... As to Foodora, I hope they realize some responsibility for their fleet of dedicated workers and provide some financial support but I won't hold my breath. I have seen - as I think we all have - how time and time again these parasitic corporations leach off of workers while enriching their executives, then exiting when their time at the trough appears endangered."

- Chris

Foodster: Ahmad

"Fix The GIG economy. Foodora SHAME, you are letting your couriers down, but thanks, you were a good lesson for us. And Thanks because we are more united after you, Foodsters United - We will keep fighting for gig economy rights."

- Ahmad

Foodster: Lauren

"There is something particularly disturbing and unjust about how we were forgotten, and dismissed by Foodora. The timing feels like a deliberate message to hundreds of couriers-that we really don’t matter. we are totally disposable. If you don’t like your scraps, you can starve. I became involved in the union because I was enchanted by this group of people that were so passionate about helping couriers in any way they could."

- Lauren

Foodster: Houston

"Foodora leaving means a loss of income for me. More importantly, some of my fellow Foodora workers depended solely on this job for their income. With Foodora leaving us workers on such short notice, especially during these tough times, and suspiciously leaving when we were on the verge of forming a Union, I believe in all fairness that Foodora should have to offer severance to all Foodora couriers."

- Houston

Foodster: Narada

"Because I love this job so much, organizing the union together with my fellow workers was one of the most important things I could do. The sense of community and shared purpose that building a union fostered not only enriched my experience in what is normally a very isolating job, but it also gave me hope that gig workers together could win the rights and respect that companies like Foodora have denied us for so long. I think Foodora's decision to leave on Monday the 11th May is shameful and is not only going to affect a lot of vulnerable people directly, but will also set back the movement of gig workers fighting for their rights. The manner in which they pulled out of the Canadian market with no regard whatsoever for the workers who made the company successful should not be allowed to stand and I urge the federal government to intervene in what is clearly a union busting move."

- Narada

Foodster: Thomas

"Foodora had a chance to build something good with its workers. A food delivery model where our well-being mattered, where workers were respected and empowered. We could have redefined the gig economy together. instead, foodora turned tail and ran in the middle of the worst Global pandemic in living memory. I'm tired of My Blood Sweat and Tears subsidizing the bad ideas of techs bros who have the moral fiber of sanitizer hoarders and payday loan CEOs."

- Thomas

"I am done having my and my coworker's rights be eroded on a daily and yearly basis, bit by bit. You thought we wouldn't notice? We do. The time for change is now. The same old story: a few at the top making obscene amounts of money at the expense of everyone else, particularly the workers on the ground, the ones without whom there would be no company and no business. Why? Becaue you can, because there is no one to stop you. We are going to though and so are others. This is about nothing less than the survival of the species, and you know it, yet you persist...so long Foodora."

- Rob

Foodsters take the streets!

Photo Gallery >>

In the midst of a global pandemic, Foodora is abandoning its workers by pulling out of the country. A crisis won’t stop us from rallying for justice so foodsters are taking to the streets while practicing physical distancing!

1 year ago today on May Day, car & bike couriers told the world we sought to unionize. In that year, we have built an entire community from the ground up. The gig economy is a desolate, isolating place to work but in that darkness couriers connected, supported each other, and ultimately won.

Right now, we stand in front of their empty office, an energetic mass facing the soulless symbol of international capital. Foodora may be leaving, but foodsters are here to stay. Worker power is forever, and we will continue to organize all gig workers and fight for justice for all couriers.

We are foodsters, we are united, and we will never back down.

Stand in solidarity with us:

In Street: Foodora Couriers and CUPW stage a safe, physically distanced protest at Foodora Canada’s headquarters.
At Mic: Foodora Couriers and CUPW stage a safe, physically distanced protest at Foodora Canada’s headquarters.
Scene 3: Foodora Couriers and CUPW stage a safe, physically distanced protest at Foodora Canada’s headquarters.
Scene 4: Foodora Couriers and CUPW stage a safe, physically distanced protest at Foodora Canada’s headquarters.
Image: Foodsters Public Statement

Foodsters United Statement on Foodora Closing its Canadian Operations

Take Action! Help Support Foodsters United

Apply for the Foodsters United Hardship Fund

April 27, 2020

Foodsters United, CUPW Courier Local 104 have just learned alongside all workers that Foodora are closing their Canadian operations.

We are saddened and greatly disappointed in Foodora and parent company Delivery Hero for their poorly thought out decision. This demonstrates a complete disregard for the wellbeing of us workers in an already extreme and uncertain time. Foodora has left restaurant partners, as well as couriers, without significant notice. Restaurants and couriers will have only 2 weeks to find alternate means of survival in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

One of workers’ reasons for starting this entire campaign was fear that the company would suddenly abandon its duties to workers. Let us be clear, the decision by Delivery Hero was made without any input from their workers or care for their well-being. The instability, precariousness, and lack of transparency in the gig-economy is now on full display for the world to see. Protections like EI are a given for most Canadians, but Foodora will leave foodsters out of these support systems by refusing to acknowledge the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) ruling that we are Dependent Contractors.

Delivery Hero like all gig economy employers has treated this as a numbers game where market control takes priority over the lives of real hard working couriers. We must not forget that this is a multinational corporation working to control the market on their terms. This is the reality of the gig economy on full display...

Download as PDF | Read full statement >>

Image: Gig Workers Rise!

Click Here to Find Out How You Can Support Foodsters through COVID-19

CUPW Urges Removal of CERB Access Barriers for Gig-Economy Workers

 

COVID-19 Information for Foodsters

Cover Image for A Courier's Guide to COVID-19

April 17, 2020

Fellow foodsters, 

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is changing by the week and we are trying to put out up-to-date information for you all. Vital health and safety measures are also being fought for those who are working - please read below. 

CERB: This week the government announced a ‘relaxing of criteria’ for CERB for those who are gig workers, contract workers or part time workers. These changes, while not ideal, have come about because of the combined efforts of union and worker solidarity. We have continued to organize and push the government to include us by providing the support we need as precarious workers. 

What the government announced this week was: 

  • Ability to apply if you earn $1000 a month or less (and here Trudeau specifically referenced gig workers and contract workers);
  • Ability to apply if you would normally rely on seasonal work and have run out of Employment Insurance (EI);.
  • They will not “unjustly penalize” workers who apply in good faith and are later found to be ineligible.

They also announced a wage boost for essential workers who are earning less than $2500 a month but the details of this are still unclear and we will let you know as soon as we find out more. 

See the full government announcement here:
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/04/expanding-access-to-the-canada-emergency-response-benefit
-and-proposing-a-new-wage-boost-for-essential-workers.html

And the government FAQ here:
https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application/questions.html

Courier Resource Document:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kqoa8zHvOqt0pFE0UP1DPEJ-4e1siGg9k1j4s2qKfAE/view?usp=sharing 

Our thoughts as Foodsters United  

Making CERB available to those who are still working and earning less than $1000 a month is a start but it’s not enough! 

  • A person working multiple jobs needs to have a huge loss of income to be eligible. The problem is that ANY loss of income is an issue! 
  • The maximum compensation  will still be $2000 a month (and remember, is taxable income!) which is hardly enough for someone to support themselves let alone a family in the Greater Toronto Area. It is below minimum wage. 
  • CERB must be made accessible for ANY loss of work or reduction of any hours, regardless of immigration status.
  • PM Trudeau must recognize that many workers and too many in society more broadly were struggling/living in poverty or barely above the poverty line before the pandemic hit and take actions that reflect that. The CERB and the newest additions do not reflect this. 

Seasonal Work 

  • Though a lot of gig workers end up working seasonally, the government has put the condition that it is for people who would normally be on EI until their seasonal work begins (such as forestry workers).

Top-up for Essential Workers

  • This will be in the form of a ‘cost-share transfer’ to the Provinces and Territories therefore putting the responsibility on Ontario.
  • The Ontario Government has so far determined food delivery workers to be essential, but it is not clear if they will see gig workers as essential for the top-up.

No measures for undocumented workers 

  • There are still restrictions and no clear support for people who are undocumented or without an active Social Inusrance Number (SIN)!
  • The government needs to lift the SIN requirement and ensure access to benefits to all workers who need it immediately.

Short-sighted emphasis that one cannot 'voluntarily quit their job'

  • The government fails to take into account that many gig and precarious workers are working under unsafe conditions and the right to refuse unsafe work is not universally respected by employers.
  • A worker who has made the hard decision to keep themself safe and quit because work felt unsafe must be respected and supported. 

The changes this week are still not enough - the government can and must lift the overly restrictive criteria and ensure no one is left behind.

Call to Action

Last week we organized quickly to pressure the government to make the changes to CERB that gig workers need. We need to keep up the pressure now more than ever to ensure no one is left behind! 

Contact your MP today to demand removal of barriers to CERB for all precarious workers: http://foodstersunited.ca/take-action

Health and Safety while working: What is Foodora doing to keep workers safe?

The union has sent several letters to Foodora on the issue of health and safety, asking them to come to the table to discuss the health and safety of workers. They have refused to even respond. 

We need to collectively continue to fight for:

  • Protective equipment
  • Company enforced guidelines and safety protocol for couriers for contact-less pick up and drop offs
  • Respect the right to refuse: No punishment for refusing an order that you think is unsafe
  • Guaranteed return to work if you fall ill and/or need to go on CERB
  • HAZARD PAY 
  • Access to bathrooms and handwashing at restaurants 

Couriers have self organized distribution of cloth masks because the company still fails to provide it let alone reply to the request from workers

The company still has not implemented safety protocols on no-contact delivery for workers especially in condos. It is still all upon the customers request or whatever that particular condo has in place.

Foodora is prioritizing customers needs before workers safety - they are required by law to institute basic provisions under occupational health and safety, but are failing to do so. 

Our health and safety is essential, not just our labour.

Foodster riding down a street on a bike

Who are Foodsters?

Foodsters are Foodora’s workforce. On bikes, cars, electric scooters, and at least one electric unicycle, we deliver food from restaurants to homes and offices. You may recognize our distinctive pink backpacks. We use an app to accept orders and pick up shifts. We are paid between $4.50-$7.50 an order. We are not paid when we don’t get orders. Foodora is basically our boss, but claims we’re “independent contractors” in order to avoid paying benefits, offering sick days, or offering raises.

Foodster sitting in a car with door open

What’s it like to be a Foodster?

Our work is fast-paced and dangerous. We often have to choose between safety and speed to deliver as many orders as possible just to make ends meet. We work outdoors in wind, in rain, and in -25 with blowing snow. For those of us on bikes, a car door might open at any minute. Cars or bikes could be hit by a careless driver leaving us unable to work. Despite our high injury rates we have no paid sick days and often have to work when injured.

Foodster riding a bike near a building

What are we trying to achieve?

Justice for Foodora Couriers is a drive to unionize Foodora couriers to improve conditions. We are challenging the paradigm of precarious work. Companies like foodora strip labour protections from workers under the guise of “innovation,” by calling us “independent contractors.” But we can work together to assert our rights. United, we can win fair pay for our dangerous work, the ability to recover when sick or injured, and a respectful workplace free from harassment and intimidation.

What couriers want from foodora is simple and achievable:

  • Respect: respect as workers, including our right to unionize
  • Health and Safety: better protections for our safety and support when we get injured
  • Fair compensation: to be paid fairly for the difficult and sometimes dangerous work that we do
Close up of a Foodster worker carrying a bike

How you can help

  1. Get to know the issues that couriers face, and what we are fighting for! Couriers want respect; health and safety; fair pay from Foodora.
  2. Tell Foodora that you support the couriers at support@foodora.ca, tweet using #justice4couriers and #FoodstersUnited
  3. Show your love for couriers, participate in our Order-In Days, and put up a window sign to show your support for Justice for Couriers. Click here to download a window sign
  4. Join the campaign!
  5. Spread the word! Distribute Justice for Couriers brochures, Invite Justice for Couriers to speak at an upcoming event, or write a letter to the editor of a newspaper