News Worms
News Worms

Judge puts on hold Seattle law allowing a ride-hailing union

Judge puts on hold Seattle law allowing a ride-hailing union

Critics charge that Uber and Lyft reap a financial windfall by treating its drivers as contractors and thus avoiding higher costs such as paying benefits, overtime and insurance.

When the law passed, opponents argued that drivers are independent contractors and federal labor law prevents cities from regulating collective bargaining. If the workers win, it could mean that the business model Uber and Lyft have built will no longer be viable.

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 can not be repaired once the lists are released" as well as a threat to the business model itself.

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Dawn Gearhart, a spokeswoman for an International Brotherhood of Teamsters local that is trying to organize drivers in Seattle, said the court ruling was a setback, but that companies could still negotiate with drivers voluntarily.

The taxi and rideshare companies would have had to give Local 117 a list of their drivers, with contact information. "These drivers aren't guaranteed any minimum wage".

The NLRA explicitly excludes five categories of workers from its coverage and protections: public-sector workers, agriculture workers, domestic workers, supervisors and independent contractors.

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More than 8,200 failed the background checks, which are required under a 2016 state law that officials have called the most stringent in the country. So far, they've reached about 2,000 drivers, many of whom drive full-time and depend on the job for their livelihood, Gearhart says. "They're clearly not management".

Federal antitrust laws allow states or cities to adopt reasonable regulations to protect the public interest, even if they have anti-competitive effects, such as price-fixing for taxi fares.

"One floor below, a couple of weeks ago, the federal government was making the same arguments about the travel ban", Lasnik said.

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Lasnik said the chamber had raised "serious questions that deserve careful, rigorous judicial attention, not a fast-tracked rush to judgment based on a date that has no extrinsic importance". "We can't delay this, it's a matter of national security, etc., etc".


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