The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday afternoon, September 8, issued an order to block the law until an appeal from the US Chamber of Commerce can be completed. US District Judge Robert Lasnik dismissed the chamber’s lawsuit last month, for the second time, but the chamber quickly appealed.
“We believe the Court made the right decision,” said Brooke Steger, Uber general manager for the Pacific Northwest said in a statement. “The Court will now have the time to hear from all parties and carefully consider the unique questions raised by the City’s ordinance. There is a tremendous amount at stake in this case, namely the rights and livelihoods of thousands of drivers and the fate of a transportation option that many Seattle residents and visitors have come to rely on. We remain confident the Court will find the City overreached in its effort to protect taxi companies and help the Teamsters.”
The law, passed in 2015, gives drivers the ability to band together to negotiate pay rates and employment conditions, among other conditions. The law lets organizations that want to represent drivers get contact information from the ride-hailing companies to reach out to drivers and try and drum up support for collective bargaining.
Currently, these drivers are considered independent contractors and are not protected by traditional labor standards — including Seattle’s US$15 per hour minimum wage law. They also do not have collective bargaining rights covered by the National Labor Relations Act.