Uber drivers in Seattle blocked from unionizing after federal judge’s temporary ruling

A federal judge temporarily blocked the city of Seattle from implementing a landmark law allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize, according to the Associated Press. The ruling is a temporary reprieve for Uber, which just a few weeks ago saw its own effort to stymie the law struck down by a Washington state judge.

The law in question passed the Seattle city council in a 9-0 vote back in December 2015. The first of its kind, the law allows drivers for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft to unionize and collectively bargain for better working conditions, earnings, and other benefits. The bill was a victory for labor groups like the App-Based Drivers Association, which had lobbied with the local Teamsters union on behalf of freelance drivers.

But while Uber’s lawsuit against the city of Seattle was tossed in late March, two lawsuits brought by anti-union groups in federal court sought a similar result: a temporary injunction against the implementation of the law.

One suit was filed by the US Chamber of Commerce, which argued that the measure violates federal labor laws regulating independent contractors. Another was filed by anti-union group, Freedom Foundation.

A spokesperson for the Seattle city attorney’s office initially declined comment until lawyers have had the chance to consult on the judge’s ruling. A spokesperson for Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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