Judge puts Seattle law allowing ride-hailing union on hold

"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.

Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle won't be able to unionize after all - at least not for the time being.

The Seattle City Council enacted the rideshare unionization law in late 2015.

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 argued the law classified drivers as employees, when really they are independent contractors with no collective bargaining power. Should the city law be upheld, the business models for Lyft and Uber would "likely be disrupted in fundamental and irreparable ways".

A federal judge in Seattle has temporarily blocked the city's first-in-the-nation law that attempts to allow Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers to unionize.

"There can be no doubt that ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft have, at a truly startling rate, created havoc in this industry using a business model that simply did not exist before its recent technological development".

State officials say more than 8,000 people - including 51 sex offenders - who applied to drive for ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft in MA have failed a required background check.

"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 chamber pursued the court order with urgency, arguing that the Teamsters union has demanded that it turn over a confidential list of contracted drivers for Uber, Lyft and the dispatch service Eastside for Hire Inc.to unionize them. The judge said it was uncertain, though, whether state law allows the city's ordinance.

Seattle previous year became the first city in the nation to allow for-hire drivers to collectively bargain with employers. City attorneys argue that independent contractors are more akin to the first three than supervisors and the city has the authority to permit them to unionize.

Lyft was pleased the court ruled that what it called Seattle's "experimental law" wouldn't be implemented until issues raised by drivers are heard.

  • Patricia Jimenez