Judge Says Seattle’s Taxi-Union Law Can Take Effect
National, New York, Transportation

Judge Says Seattle’s Taxi-Union Law Can Take Effect

August 31, 2017

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel


Seattle, WA federal judge here ruled Aug. 24 that Seattle’s 2015 law requiring ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to bargain with drivers if a majority wants union representation can go into effect. District Judge Robert Lasnik rejected a challenge brought by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation on behalf of 11 drivers, saying its claims were premature or too speculative. The “right to work” group, which claimed that the law would expose drivers to a “coercive card-check campaign,” conflict with federal labor law, and violate drivers’ right to free association, says it plans to appeal, as does the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which also had a challenge rejected by Lasnik this month. The law requires app-based services, for-hire transportation companies, and companies that hire or contract with taxi drivers to bargain with them if a majority sign union cards, even if the company deems them “independent contractors.” It “provides the only tangible vehicle for gig workers to have a voice in their working conditions,” Dawn Gearhart, a spokesperson for Teamsters Local 117, told the Associated Press Aug. 25. Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes pledged to “vigorously defend this publicly important law on appeal.” Read more

August 31, 2017

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