…in Seattle, new legislation the City Council will vote on today [*] could give these drivers a way to collectively bargain regardless of how they’re classified. Some call it the Voice for Drivers legislation, others the Uber unionization bill (not technically correct, since it applies to all of Seattle’s for-hire drivers, including taxis). Either way, the proposed bill appears to be the first of its kind in the nation: a clever workaround to a federal law that has so far prevented Uber and Lyft drivers from organizing and jointly negotiating on pay and working conditions. It’s Seattle’s bold plan to let its drivers form what would essentially be their own union.
That’s great. And let’s say that Uber loses the legal battle that they’ve already promised to engage over this. What will Seattle residents do when Uber simply stops operating in Seattle? I mean, you can’t force them to engage in economic activity.
No, really, you can’t. NFIB v. Sebelius. 5-4 ruling that there are limits to the Commerce Clause, and that forcing people to engage in economic activity is one of them. And if you don’t think that this current administration wouldn’t be trying to use that line of attack in the field of labor relations, then you don’t know this current administration all that well.
*It passed, but the mayor of Seattle won’t put his signature on it (it’ll take effect anyway), which should serve as a hint as to how well this will turn out for Seattle.