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"The public will be well-served by maintaining the status quo while the issues are given careful judicial consideration". Uber and Lyft have argued that the rules could imperil drivers' flexible work schedules and, moreover, aren't something workers want.

When the law passed, opponents argued that drivers are independent contractors and federal labor law prevents cities from regulating collective bargaining.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik's temporary restraining order was in response to a request by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed last month.

A spokeswoman for the Seattle Attorney's office said the city would continue to defend the ordinance, saying "the court did not find merit in the challenges to the ordinance under federal labor law".

More than 8,200 Uber and Lyft drivers in MA have failed a new and more stringent state background check, according to multiple media reports.

The Teamsters Union Local 117, which backed the law, now hopes to contact drivers about unionizing but needs their information from the ride-share companies to reach them all. They said it would stifle growth of the on-demand economy.

Saying the city's ordinance would likely disrupt the ride-hailing companies' businesses in "fundamental and irreparable ways", Lasnik ruled that it should be blocked while the case is decided.

Uber issued a statement faulting the background process as too strict. Lasnik said in his ruling.

The chamber, which includes member companies Uber and Lyft, sued Seattle over the ordinance, claiming it violated federal antitrust laws. "Whether existing state law covers, or was meant to cover, the sort of regulation the city attempts through the ordinance is far from clear".

"The court emphasizes that this order shall not be read as a harbinger of what the ultimate decision in this case will be", Lasnik wrote in his ruling. Seattle's lawyers disagreed and say allowing drivers to bargain over their working conditions will make the industry safer and more reliable. "However, under MA law, Lyft's commercial background check provider, like all consumer reporting agencies, is legally prevented from looking back further than seven years into driver applicants' histories", Lyft said in a written statement.


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