From the beginning of Uber, some of the lawmakers tried to create a better work environment for drivers that use this ride-hailing system. The company acknowledged their status as independent contractors. However, the law sees them as a dangling form of worker that fits nowhere for the moment. Until a new legislature regulates this type of business for good, Uber drivers lack many usual work benefits. Thus, some politicians proposed a union law for Uber drivers to make up for their lack of rights. However, a Seattle judge has just put this bill on hold.
The Union Law Was Introduced by Mike O’Brien
Federal Judge Robert Lasnik decided in favor of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in a recent motion. The winning part consists of Lyft, Uber, and Eastside for Hire. They fought to prevent the application of the union law for drivers that work for ride-hailing companies.
The much-disputed bill was first introduced by Mike O’Brien, a Seattle City Councilmember. The union law advocates for the rights of Uber and Lyft drivers, but it is intended for other industries as well. In the absence of a clear law to mark their benefits and duties, these workers are performing professional services outside an employee-friendly environment. The new bill would have given them the opportunity to gather into unions and negotiate their benefits with their employers, just like within any other professional medium.
Federal Judge Paused this Case for Lack of In-Depth Study of the Matter
However, the new decision put this union law on hold. For the time being, Uber drivers remain vaguely classified as independent contractors. On the other hand, this status doesn’t concern the drivers solely. There are many employers around the world who prefer to pay gig workers per project or hour to the detriment of a full-time employee.
The public will be well-served by maintaining the status quo while the issues are given careful judicial consideration as to whether the City’s well-meaning Ordinance can survive the scrutiny our laws require.
While the federal judge reached a decision, this doesn’t mean the end of the battle. On the contrary, even Judge Lasnik acknowledged in his ruling that the matter is far from its final form. The authority put the case on pause for the time being.
During this recess, the lawmakers are going to reassess the complexity of this union law. There is no precedent case that can guide them in the right direction either. However, once the decision is made, the future regulation is going to describe once and for all the relationship between employers and independent contractors in legal terms.
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