A federal judge in Seattle today temporarily blocked first-in-the-nation legislation which would have allowed drivers from ride-hailing companies like Uber, Lyft to unionize.
The Seattle City Council enacted the rideshare unionization law in late 2015.
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"The court emphasizes that this order shall not be read as a harbinger of what the ultimate decision in this case will be", Lasnik wrote in his ruling. "The public will be well-served by maintaining the status quo while the issues are given careful judicial consideration as to whether the City's well-meaning ordinance can survive the scrutiny our laws require", Lasnik wrote.
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 Union Local 117, which backed the law, now hopes to contact drivers about unionizing but needs their information from the ride-share companies to reach them all. The judge said it was unclear whether existing state law covers the city's ordinance.
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The Boston Herald said the drivers were let go after Uber and Lyft received the results of the background checks this week. The judge said the chamber was unlikely to succeed on those claims or its chances were not clear but he put the law on hold because the lawsuits raised serious questions. "However, under MA law, Lyft's commercial background check provider, like all consumer reporting agencies, is legally prevented from looking back further than seven years into driver applicants' histories", Lyft said in a written statement.
The case represents an important front in the on-going battle between gig economy workers trying to gain more employee-like benefits while companies seek to have them definitively classified as contract workers.
"What we've seen in this industry highlights this continual erosion of what so many folks believe are the rights of workers in this country", O'Brien said. There's no health-care requirements.
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