Court of Appeals Blocks Uber, Lyft and Other For-Hire Drivers from Unionizing

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On August 29, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit temporarily blocked implementation of a City of Seattle ordinance that would allow Uber and Lyft and other for-hire drivers to unionize and negotiate contract terms.  The injunction follows a district court judge’s order dismissing one of two companion cases that challenged the ordinance, which passed by unanimous vote of the Seattle City Council in December 2015.  The ordinance is the first in the nation to allow independent contractors for ride-for-hire apps, like Uber and Lyft, to collectively bargain terms such as pay and working conditions. Both Uber and Lyft, along with the Chamber of Commerce, have opposed the ordinance as unfairly limiting independent drivers and forcing unionization.  The case is pending in the 9th Circuit as Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. v. City of Seattle, No. 17-35640.