Uber on Tuesday filed a legal challenge against Seattle over the city’s driver-unionization ordinance.
The ride-hailing service Uber on Tuesday filed a legal challenge over the Seattle ordinance giving drivers the power to unionize.
The City Council adopted the ordinance in 2015. The first of its kind in the country, it gives independent-contractor drivers for Uber and other app-based ride-dispatch companies the right to collective bargaining with the companies.
The ordinance also covers drivers for taxi companies and for-hire vehicle companies.
It went into effect last January with a waiting period before allowing unionization efforts, during which city officials worked on detailed rules.
Most Read Local Stories
- Missing Lummi Nation woman found alive, aunt says
- Washington state analyzed two COVID scenarios for fall. One is much worse than the other
- Wondering why society went off-kilter during the pandemic? It was all predicted in this book
- Coronavirus daily news updates, September 24: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
- King County head of homelessness may be an 'impossible' job, but Marc Dones is optimistic
Tuesday’s legal challenge isn’t the first against the ordinance. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sued the city last March, citing federal labor and antitrust laws and arguing the ordinance would slow innovations in the “on-demand” economy.
In August, a federal judge dismissed the Chamber’s lawsuit, calling it premature.
Uber’s challenge on Tuesday was filed in King County Superior Court.
It says the city denied drivers a chance to meaningfully comment as officials drew up the rules for the ordinance.
The challenge also says the rules are incomplete, at odds with the circumstances of the ride-dispatch industry and inconsistent with labor-law principles.
It asks that the rules be suspended.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes “will vigorously defend” the city’s rule-making process, said Kimberly Mills, a Holmes spokeswoman.
Most contentious has been the rule setting out which drivers will get a say in whether to unionize.
Uber and some drivers said every driver should get a say, because they all will be covered by collective-bargaining agreements reached under the ordinance.
Local 117 and other drivers pushed for stricter criteria, saying people who make a living primarily by driving should control their own circumstances.
In the end, the city decided to give a say only to drivers who have been with a company for the past 90 days and who have made at least 52 trips to, from or within Seattle during any three-month period in the past 12 months.
Uber’s challenge says officials ignored feedback and says the officials used data from a flawed survey to make their decision.
The ordinance allows unionization on a company-by-company basis. Organizations seeking to bargain on behalf of drivers must submit to the city statements of interest from a majority of drivers eligible to weigh in.