In 2015, Uber and Lyft drivers sought the right to unionize in Seattle. A law was put in place that allowed them to do so, however, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Uber challenged the law in court. Now, however, Uber has agreed to dismiss the case.
When the unionization law passed in Seattle, it allowed drivers for ride-hailing apps to organize. This was unusual because the companies consider drivers independent contractors as opposed to employees. When the law was challenged in court, the Seattle City Council removed provisions that allowed drivers to negotiate pay if they organized. The rideshare companies continued to pushback against the new law even after changes were made, but have now decided to drop the lawsuit.
Uber and Lyft both responded to the dismissal of the lawsuit. In a statement provided to the city, Uber had this to say: “We will continue to support the City’s goals and expect with industry and the City working cooperatively, we will avoid the need for any further challenges to the ordinances, whether legally or through a local or state ballot measure.”
Lyft’s statement expressed a similar notion: “We expect to be able to work cooperatively on a sustainable future for the industry, and as long as that’s the case there should be no need for further legal or ballot challenges to the Fare Share ordinance.”
The City Council has also been focusing on implementing a different set of driver-focused laws, including minimum wage for drivers and other protections like new rules about driver deactivations. Under Seattle’s minimum wage for larger employers, Uber and Lyft drivers should make approximately $16 an hour, plus expenses.
In addition to laws regarding pay, the City Council passed a new fee on Uber and Lyft trips. Per the new fee, individual trips will cost an additional 51 cents. The fee is set to take effect on July 1, 2020. All revenue collected is planned to be used for affordable housing, a downtown streetcar, and a new driver resolution center.
It’s currently unclear as to whether drivers will unionize under the original 2015 law. According to Teamsters 117, the union backed by the ordinance, in an email to The Seattle Times, “We will continue to fight to implement the law, raise driver pay, and bring new levels of protections and representation to the driver community through the Drivers Union affiliated with Teamsters 117.
For more information on the latest rideshare industry news and law changes, check out our blog. If you’ve been in an Uber or Lyft accident and believe negligence was involved, you may have the right to take legal action to seek compensation for your losses. Contact the Rideshare Law Group today to learn more.