The Workers’ Bowl* is happening in just six days! This critical fundraiser supports the Workers’ Action Centre (WAC) in organizing workers’ rights workshops all over the Greater Toronto Area, online as well as in several languages. From wage theft to understanding whether you are an employee or an independent contractor, defending our workplace rights can get complicated if we don’t know the basics. That’s why it’s so important that WAC is able to reach workers in many communities to provide necessary information about proactive ways to protect yourself when working.
Misclassification is one increasingly common problem that workers across different sectors face. We consistently get calls from people who aren’t sure if they are an employee or an independent contractor. Most often, it’s once workers are not paid their wages or face illegal deductions that they realize the consequences of being falsely considered a self-employed independent contractor. On top of not being paid, realizing there is no access to safety nets like Employment Insurance and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board unless you put up a fight can be very stressful.
Our education programs help workers understand the consequences of bad labour laws and when employers try to misclassify us at work. This year, it was especially important, when new laws were introduced for “gig” workers. WAC members spoke out about their own experiences doing gig work during the pandemic. It was clear that many platform-based gig workers are low-waged employees who don’t set their own prices yet have to shoulder the costs of doing business. Min, a WAC member, shared that his daily wages driving for Uber, after deducting expenses such as gas, was only $100 for over 12 hours of work.
We held many worker meetings that helped clarify not only the difference between employees and independent contractors, but also what changes to labour law would mean for racialized, low-income workers and their communities. Our members did outreach in their own communities, helping gig workers and other workers in low-waged jobs see what was at stake and how all workers are connected.
The Workers’ Action Centre plays a critical role in the labour movement to build connections with workers who are being pushed outside the law, and we provide a space for organizing. Please donate to the Workers’ Bowl so we and our members can keep
strengthening our communities. Any amount is appreciated and tax receipts are available for donations of $10 or more.
*The Workers’ Bowl is a joint fundraiser between the Workers’ Action Centre and the Ontario Employment Education & Research Centre (OEERC), which supports community leadership development. All donations to the Workers’ Bowl will go to the OEERC Education and Leadership Fund for Workers in Precarious Employment to create collaborative community leadership development and educational projects with the Workers’ Action Centre.