December, Seattle did a very Seattle thing and allowed for-hire and app-based drivers the right to unionize. They specifically did this as a way to give drivers who work for Uber, Lfyt and like-minded services the opportunity to improve their total compensation and working conditions, which they found lacking.
As you might imagine, Uber wasn't a big fan of the ordinance and has been spending a lot of time contacting area drivers to convince them that unionization is a bad idea. Now the company has a strong ally in the fight to get rid of the ordinance: The United States Chamber of Commerce.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle asks that the ordinance be declared unlawful and seeks an injunction blocking it from taking effect.
It cites federal labor and antitrust laws and says the ordinance will slow innovations in the "on-demand economy," increase prices and lead to worse service for customers.
The problem, according to the lawsuit, is that it would set a precedent that would allow for any local municipality to become "disparate regulatory regimes" and would "inhibit the free flow of commerce among private service providers around the Nation."
The Seattle City Council felt the ordinance was necessary as independent contractors aren't guaranteed a right to collective bargaining by The National Labor Relations Act. Opponents argue that Seattle simply doesn't have the authority to decide either way.
The lawsuit is not unexpected as council officials mentioned in December they thought it might happen. Councilmember Mike O'Brien said at the time "we have millions of dollars set aside."
· Chamber of Commerce sues Seattle over allowing Uber- driver unionizing [ST]
· U.S. Chamber of Commerce sues Seattle over Uber, Lyft ordinance [Rueters]
· Uber calling its drivers to say unionizing does ‘not fit’ for ride-sharing workers [ST] ·