Federal judge blocks Seattle ordinance to help Uber & Lyft drivers unionize

Federal judge blocks Seattle ordinance to help Uber & Lyft drivers unionize

A first-of-its-kind city law forcing Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle to become employees instead of independent contractors, in order to negotiate with a city-sanctioned union, has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge.

Seattle, Washington, would’ve been the first US city to make ride-sharing drivers union-eligible employees, but US District Court Judge Robert Lasnik granted a request by the US Chamber of Commerce to halt enforcement of the ordinance on Tuesday.

The chamber, which includes member companies Uber and Lyft, sued Seattle over the ordinance, claiming it violated federal antitrust laws. Judge Lasnik has not made a final ruling in the case, but he concluded that preventing implementation of the ordinance during the course of the trial harmed no one.

Lasnik also did not state one way or another if the city law was in line with Washington state law.

“The potential absence of any state oversight of the agreements, the lack of any evaluation of competitive effect, and the potential impact on an important transportation option for thousands of Seattle residents and visitors cannot be ignored," he wrote. "The Court finds that the Chamber has raised serious questions.”

Seattle’s ordinance specified The Teamsters as the union to negotiate with the drivers, and that required Uber and Lyft as well as other ride-sharing companies to turn over confidential driver lists to the union, which the judge considered “likely to cause competitive injury that cannot be repaired once the lists are released” as well as a threat to the business model itself.

The Teamsters represent taxi companies upset by the rideshare phenomena, which the judge acknowledged “created havoc in this industry using a business model that simply did not exist before its recent technological development.”

Seattle sues #Trump administration over ‘sanctuary city’ threat it calls ‘unconstitutional’ https://t.co/vQHf8da25f

— RT America (@RT_America) March 30, 2017

Seattle spokeswoman Kimberly Mills said in a statement: “The city has a motion to dismiss pending, and will move forward with efforts to defeat this legal challenge to its effort to improve the safety and reliability of for-hire transportation in the city.”

“The city is also encouraged that the court did not find merit in the challenges to the ordinance under federal labor law,” she added.

Brooke Steger, a general manager for Uber, said: “The court recognized the complexity of the issues and the imminent risk to drivers, transportation companies, and the people of Seattle if the ordinance were allowed to proceed without careful legal review.”

The case, Chamber of Commerce v. Seattle, 17-cv-00370, is being litigated in US District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle.

UPDATE: #Uber proceeding with self-driving car program after a brief suspension in three states https://t.co/aJZKrq9IjApic.twitter.com/QUp99dFo2N

— RT America (@RT_America) March 27, 2017



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Love Island’s Amber Davies, Montana Brown and Chloe Crowhurst SNUB their castmates as they skip show's reunion party to attend different nightclub

Love Island’s Amber Davies, Montana Brown and Chloe Crowhurst SNUB their castmates as they..

29-Jul, 07:30

However, three of the show’s stars made a bold statement by snubbing the...

Sri Lanka to sign deal on Hambantota port with China

Sri Lanka to sign deal on Hambantota port with China..

29-Jul, 01:50

Sri Lanka is due to sign a $1.1bn (?837m) deal with China for the control...

US plans to curb nicotine in tobacco

US plans to curb nicotine in tobacco..

28-Jul, 13:40

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking to limit nicotine...

Environmental concerns over Trump's golf plans at Menie

Environmental concerns over Trump's golf plans at Menie..

28-Jul, 11:40

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has raised formal...

SXSW festival clarifies stance on deportation for international artists

SXSW festival clarifies stance on deportation for international artists..

07-Mar, 16:16

SXSW has changed its contract language in light of criticism about a...

'Arrow' star Colton Haynes is engaged to Jeff Leatham

'Arrow' star Colton Haynes is engaged to Jeff Leatham..

13-Mar, 10:04

Actor Colton Haynes and Jeff Leatham are engaged! The duo posted photos...

Carnival kicks off in Germany; Trump costumes popular

Carnival kicks off in Germany; Trump costumes popular..

23-Feb, 12:08

Germans are braving rain, high winds and tight security to celebrate this...

Hypercars mingle with station wagons at Geneva auto show

Hypercars mingle with station wagons at Geneva auto show..

05-Mar, 06:20

Europe's automakers face huge questions: the impact of Britain's decision...