“Last week, Uber Canada and UFCW-Canada made a surprise announcement that they had reached “a historic national agreement” for representation rights affecting some 100,000 Uber workers in Canada. The “Agreement” has not been made public yet, but the press releases provide some details.

Under the Agreement, Uber recognizes a right of UFCW to represent drivers and couriers in Uber’s dispute resolution process regarding “account-related disputes,” such as complaints about wrongful de-activation, including before third-party arbitrators. The cost of this representation, and of the arbitration, will apparently be borne by Uber and UFCW and free to any driver who opts for UFCW representation. The agreement also permits UFCW to “meet with Uber on a regular basis to discuss health, safety, and other related issues,” according to the UFCW press release.

In exchange for these representational rights, UFCW agreed to help Uber lobby governments “to enact reforms that provide new benefits and preserve worker choice on when, where, and if to work.” This sounds like a promise by UFCW to help Uber’s lobbying efforts to persuade Canadian governments to adopt its “Flexible+” model which would cover Uber drivers for some but not all labor legislation protections. Other unions in Canada have been fighting hard against Uber’s proposed model and there is concern that the Ontario government is leaning towards adopting a “third category” approach in impending legislative reform. If in fact UFCW has sided with Uber in these reforms, it will no doubt be considered a shocking betrayal of labor solidarity by much of the Canadian labor rights community.”