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Judge clears way for Seattle rideshare drivers to unionize

In this March 31, 2016, a Lyft ride-hailing service logo is displayed on a vehicle at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
In this March 31, 2016, a Lyft ride-hailing service logo is displayed on a vehicle at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

SEATTLE – For the second time this month, a federal judge has rejected a challenge to Seattle’s first-in-the-nation law allowing drivers of ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to unionize over pay and working conditions.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik late Thursday rejected a challenge brought by 11 drivers. He earlier rejected a challenge brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The organization is appealing that decision, and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which represents the drivers, said Friday it too would appeal.

But the judge declined to keep Seattle’s law on hold pending the appeals, clearing the way for the drivers to unionize unless the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says otherwise.

The 2015 law requires companies that hire or contract with drivers of taxis, for-hire transportation companies and app-based services to bargain with the drivers if a majority shows they want to be represented.


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