Appeals court reinstates challenge to Seattle rideshare law

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An ordinance introduced Wednesday would place Uber and Lyft–and taxicab companies would be required to make quarterly disclosures on drivers accused of sexual assault and other violent crimes against passengers, under a crackdown proposed Wednesday by a pair of influential aldermen. | AP file photo

SEATTLE — A federal appeals court has reinstated a challenge to Seattle’s first-in-the-nation law allowing drivers of ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to unionize.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the measure is subject to challenge under federal antitrust law, and it sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle to determine whether it is, in fact, impermissible.

The city’s 2015 measure requires companies that hire or contract with drivers of taxis, for-hire transportation companies and app-based services to bargain with them if a majority show they want to be represented.

The law has been seen as a test case for regulating the “gig economy.” The city said letting drivers bargain over their working conditions would protect workers and make the industry safer.

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