The US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] has issued a preliminary injunction [text, PDF] to block Seattle's first-in-the-nation law that will allow drivers for taxis, Lyft and Uber [official websites] to unionize.
The ordinance, passed by Seattle's city council in 2015 and taking effect this year, would give drivers for Uber and Lyft the right to collectively bargain for improvements in wages and benefits.
That's because U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik made it clear that his ruling is temporary. The Chamber, which counts ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft as members, argued the ordinance violates antitrust laws by allowing independent contractors to collude through collective bargaining to fix prices. He said his decision is not an indication of how he will ultimately rule.
"Although there is no trade secret protections or confidentiality attached to this basic identifying information, the Court finds that forcing the driver coordinators to disclose their most active and productive drivers is likely to cause competitive injury that can not be repaired once the lists are released", Lasnik wrote.
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The Teamsters have been contacting drivers while they wait for the names from Uber and Lyft.
Brooke Steger, a general manager for Uber, said: "The court recognized the complexity of the issues and the imminent risk to drivers, transportation companies, and the people of Seattle if the ordinance were allowed to proceed without careful legal review".
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. 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. They said it would stifle growth of the on-demand economy. There's no health-care requirements.
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