Judge hears arguments over Seattle law on rideshare unions

AP News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2017 8:15 PM

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge in Seattle says he'll try to rule Friday on whether to halt the city's first-in-the-nation law giving Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers the ability to form a union — but it might take him until sometime next week.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik heard arguments Thursday in a case brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber has sued to block the law before a Monday deadline for the companies to provide information about their most active drivers to the Teamsters union, which has been selected to represent the drivers.

After nearly two hours of argument on the intricacies of federal antitrust and labor law, Lasnik proclaimed the issues "pretty heavy stuff."

He said he wants to take time to get it right, and the city agreed not to enforce Monday's deadline immediately to give the judge time to rule.

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed its law in late 2015.

The chamber argues that law is trumped by federal antitrust and labor law. The city's lawyers argue that the law is not pre-empted by federal law, and that allowing drivers to bargain over their working conditions will make the industry more safe and reliable.