IT&Software

Judge puts Seattle law allowing ride-hailing union on hold

Judge puts Seattle law allowing ride-hailing union on hold

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily halted Seattle's rideshare unionization law, the first local law in the USA that allows drivers for services like Lyft and Uber to form a union.

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 order stems from a lawsuit filed last month by the Chamber, which argues the law violates federal labor and antitrust laws. He said his decision is not an indication of how he will ultimately rule.

"The public will be well-served by maintaining the status quo while the issues are given careful judicial consideration", Lasnik wrote.

The Seattle City Council late in 2015 passed the ordinance requiring that drivers of for-hire transportation companies-including app-based services-be allowed to bargain collectively with their employers.

He said the issues raised may affect other sectors of the economy that rely on independent contractors instead of employees.

The U.S. Chamber filing argued that requiring Lyft, Uber and taxi companies turn over lists of drivers involved confidential and trade secret information.

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".

MA officials say more than 10 percent of people who applied to drive for ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft failed a required background check.

But Lasnik also signaled then that he might be willing to delay the Seattle law while the lawsuits proceed, referring to the hold that another Seattle federal judge put on President Donald Trump's travel ban, and comparing the city's argument to the Trump administration. "Whether existing state law covers, or was meant to cover, the sort of regulation the city attempts through the ordinance is far from clear".

Seattle previous year became the first city in the nation to allow for-hire drivers to collectively bargain with employers. He said he felt encouraged by the judge's comments that the city's law was prompted by "reasonable public policy concerns". "We were going to see how we could restore that".

And Uber and Lyft, not content to pin their hopes on the courtroom, are waging aggressive campaigns to persuade their drivers to vote against the union. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.


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