Published In

University of New Brunswick Law Journal

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2020

Subjects

Platform Workers, Collective Labour Action

Abstract

This article surveys existing efforts by platform workers to collectively organize and advance their labour interests, with a view to improving their working rights and conditions. After reviewing the status of platform workers, the challenges and contours of their work, and the needs and interests that may be served through collective labour action in Section I, this article describes and comments on identified forms of collective labour action undertaken by platform workers across a number of jurisdictions in Section II. As this article discusses, collective labour action, in its many modalities, both formal and informal, creates a context in which the traditional legal debates regarding the status of the worker become less important, focusing instead on the actual needs, interests, rights and conditions of work at issue. Collective labour action, as a tool for improving workplace rights and conditions, as well as a political strategy, also creates greater space for the participation and voice of workers. The rich and diverse forms of collective labour action undertaken by platform workers provide both illustrations and lessons that can be drawn for workers in other precarious industries and jobs, and more broadly in considering the future of labour law in a modern economy increasingly characterized by work outside of traditional direct employment, a discussion taken up in Section III. This article thus sets a descriptive foundation for further dialogue on the future of labour law in the modern economy, both for platform workers and the many other, and growing, populations of workers falling outside of traditional labour and employment protections.

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