Chamber of Commerce Defends Independent Contractors From Seattle Organized Labor

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Posted by Dennis Cakert on Monday, March 7th, 2016, 3:28 PM PERMALINK


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is challenging a Seattle ordinance that threatens the freedom of on demand drivers to be their own boss. The ordinance gives unions the green light to organize for hire drivers working as independent contractors, regardless of an individual driver’s consent.

Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom, notes:

"All across the country government agencies and union officials are colluding to restrict market access to these shared-economy companies. Sadly, if the government/union coalition is allowed to succeed, the result will be fewer opportunities for workers and fewer - and more expensive - options for consumers."

In addition to violating federal antitrust and labor law, Amanda Eversole, president of the Chamber’s Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation, said in the Chamber’s statement:

“This ordinance threatens the ability not just of Seattle, but of every community across the country, to grow with and benefit from our evolving economy. Technology companies are leading the charge when it comes to empowering people with the flexibility and choice that comes with being your own boss, and that is something to be championed, not stifled”

If Seattle is permitted to enact draconian policy in conflict with federal law, other local governments might be able to as well. Jones Day, representing the Chamber, stated:

“There are nearly 40,000 general purpose local governments in the United States. If Seattle is permitted to adopt its own set of regulations here, then 40,000 other municipalities may attempt to do so as well. But permitting literally thousands of separate and independent regulatory regimes would cripple the for-hire driver industry and, more broadly, the ‘on demand’ economy writ large. Federal labor and antitrust laws were designed precisely to avoid this result, and to encourage the free flow of commerce among private service providers across the Nation.”  

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