Fight Over Seattle’s Bid|to Unionize Uber Dismissed

     SEATTLE (CN) — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce cannot sue Seattle over a first-of-its-kind ordinance allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize, a federal judge ruled.
     Last year, Seattle became the first city in the United States to allow for-hire drivers to collectively bargain with employers. The law allows both cab drivers and drivers for services like Lyft and Uber to negotiate pay and working conditions.
     At the time, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray refused to sign the bill, citing concerns about administrative costs and burdening the city staff’s rulemaking.
     Uber and Lyft also opposed the ordinance, arguing that federal labor law overrides local laws.
     The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sued Seattle in March, asking a federal judge to stop the enforcement of the law.
     The lobbying group argued that the ordinance is preempted by federal antitrust and labor laws, and that it violates state consumer protection and public records laws.
     In their court filings, the chamber argued that its members Uber and Eastside for Hire are harmed by the ordinance and will continue to be harmed in the future.
     Seattle’s attorneys argued that the Chamber of Commerce did not have standing to bring the claims, and that the claims were not ripe for review.
     In an order issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik agreed with Seattle that the lobbying group did not have standing to sue.
     “The chamber’s theory of standing relies on a speculative chain of events controlled entirely by the choices of third parties not currently before the court,” Lasnik wrote in the 8 page order.
     “The alleged future injuries are not ‘actual,’ nor has the chamber shown that they are ‘certainly impending’ or otherwise imminent.”
     According to the Chamber of Commerce, Eastside for Hire wanted to amend its driver contracts to prevent drivers from collectively bargaining but the ordinance prevented it from doing so. Lasnik agreed with Seattle that the plaintiff did not have standing to bring the claim.
     “The ordinance took effect on Jan. 22, 2016. The anti-retaliation provision, however, did not become effective for another 150 days,” Lasnik wrote.
     “There is no indication that Eastside made any effort to amend its driver contract during this extended period.”
     Lasnik granted Seattle’s motion to dismiss without prejudice.

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