Uber Loses Bid to Block Seattle Union Law

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By Jon Steingart

Seattle’s first-in-the-nation law that lets ride-hail drivers join labor unions survived a challenge when a federal judge dismissed the case Aug. 1 ( Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. v. City of Seattle , W.D. Wash., No. 2:17-cv-00370, 8/1/17 ).

Federal labor and antitrust laws don’t preempt the city ordinance, Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled. He rejected arguments the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Uber Technologies Inc. made on behalf of Uber, Lyft Inc., and a smaller ride-hail company called East Side for Hire Co.

“The Court’s decision ignores the serious legal challenges raised in this case about an ordinance that will turn back the clock in Seattle,” Brooke Steger, Uber general manager for the Pacific Northwest, said. “If this ruling is allowed to stand, those most adversely affected will unfortunately be thousands of drivers.”

Uber plans to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, she said.

The law is blocked under an injunction Lasnik entered in April. The injunction will remain until a related lawsuit is resolved, Lasnik said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Steingart in Washington at jsteingart@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bna.com

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