USA: District Judge's decision upholds new unionisation law for Uber & Lyft drivers in Seattle

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28 August 2017

USA: Judge rejects challenge by 11 drivers to Seattle law allowing drivers of ride-hailing companies to unionise over pay & working conditions

Author: Associated Press

"Judge refuses to block Seattle Uber, Lyft driver union law", 25 Aug 2017

For the second time this month, a federal judge has rejected a challenge to Seattle’s first-in-the-nation law allowing drivers of ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to unionize over pay and working conditions.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik late Thursday rejected a challenge brought by 11 drivers, saying that their claims against the law were premature or too speculative.

He earlier rejected a challenge brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the companies. The organization is appealing that decision. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which represents the drivers, said Friday that it too would appeal.

...[T]he judge declined to keep Seattle’s law on hold pending the appeals, clearing the way for the Teamsters to try to begin unionizing the drivers unless the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says otherwise...

The companies say a collective bargaining agreement could undermine the flexibility of how often and for how long drivers work...But unionization supporters say it could help fix practices that have included unjust terminations and deceptive payment structures...

11 August 2017

Judge dismisses lawsuit seeking to block law allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to form unions

Author: Jeremy B. White, Independent (UK)

In a ruling that helps define the rights of labourers in the booming gig economy, a federal judge has dismissed a legal challenge to a Seattle ordinance allowing drivers-for-hire to form unions. The lawsuit parallels a national fight over the rights of workers in an industry that relies heavily on independent contractors, rather than full-time employees, to sustain businesses like Lyft and Uber. After a 2015 Seattle ordinance allowing those drivers to form such organisations took effect and a Teamsters union obtained permission to organise workers, the US Chamber of Commerce sued on the grounds that allowing independent contractors to organise violated federal antitrust and labour laws. The organisation, of which Uber and Lyft are members, argued that allowing the ordinance to proceed would stifle competition...A second pending lawsuit will continue to prevent the Seattle ordinance from taking effect. In a statement, the US Chamber of Commerce said that “the City’s unlawful ordinance would stifle innovation and undermine economic growth. We continue to believe it should not be allowed to take effect,” and Uber said in a statement that it planned to appeal against Mr Lasnik’s ruling...

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1 August 2017

Court order: Chamber of Commerce of the USA & others vs The City of Seattle & others

Author: United States District Judge Robert S. Lasnik, United States District Court Western District of Washington at Seattle

Order granting Defendants' motion to dismiss the City of Seattle Ordinance 124968.

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1 August 2017

Judge tosses U.S. Chamber lawsuit over Seattle’s Uber union law, but dispute isn’t over yet

Author: Nat Levy, Geekwire (USA)

Seattle’s first-of-its-kind unionization law for drivers of services like Uber and Lyft got a big win in court Tuesday when a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought against the controversial ordinance by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

However…U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik left in place an injunction that stops the city from implementing the law because another lawsuit against it remains ongoing. In a statement, Uber General Manager for the Pacific Northwest Brooke Steger said Uber plans to appeal the ruling…The chamber also issued a statement…“We are…exploring all options for further review…The City’s unlawful ordinance would stifle innovation and undermine economic growth...”

…The law, passed last year, gives drivers the ability to band together to negotiate pay rates and employment conditions…Currently, these drivers…are not protected by traditional labor standards — including…minimum wage law. They also do not have collective bargaining rights…

The most controversial aspect of the law concerns which drivers get to vote on collective bargaining…Ride-hailing companies…favor giving every driver a vote, without the type of restrictions in Seattle’s rules…

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