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US: Chamber calls Seattle’s Uber union law illegal

 |  January 6, 2016

The US Chamber of Commerce is challenging the city of Seattle’s decision to give Uber, Lyft and other “for hire” drivers the right to unionize — saying it “violates federal law in at least two ways” and threatens to “burden innovation, increase prices, and reduce quality and services for consumers.”

In a statement released Tuesday, the Chamber’s chief legal officer, Lily Fu Claffee, cited Congressional amendments to the National Labor Relations Act that “expressly excluded independent contractors from collective-bargaining requirements.”

“The City of Seattle—and any state or other municipal government—cannot dictate otherwise,” Claffee said. “In addition, it’s antitrust 101 that independent actors cannot conspire with each other to set prices.”

“We are disappointed that the City Council has chosen to take Seattle down this unfortunate and expensive path,” Claffee added.  “Although litigation is always a last resort, the US Chamber will not hesitate to engage the courts to enforce the law when lawmakers are dead set on stifling free enterprise and trampling the legal rights of the business community. Jurisdictions contemplating similar legislation should remember that enacting an unlawful ordinance like Seattle’s inevitably imposes significant litigation costs, thus wasting finite taxpayer resources.”

Amanda Eversole, president of the US Chamber’s Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation, added, “It’s unfortunate that a city known for driving innovation has chosen not to protect the jobs and tax revenue created by a thriving technology sector, but rather has chosen to stifle innovation and limit consumers’ choices.”

Full content: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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