Yesterday the Washington State Supreme Court agreed to hear a review of an appeals court ruling that threw out the voter-approved Initiative 124. I-124 granted protections to hotel workers, and required hotel employers to either provide health insurance coverage to employees or pay them the equivalent cost.
As of today, Initiative 124, which was approved by Seattle voters in November 2016, is nearly dead after the State Court of Appeals invalidated it for impermissibly containing multiple, unrelated subjects. But Council members Teresa Mosqueda and Debora Juarez, along with some of their colleagues, are about to take a look at passing at least parts of it into law the old-fashioned way — and fixing some of its most glaring flaws in the process.
This afternoon, the City Council passed into law an ordinance that would authorize the Seattle Police Department to offer hiring bonuses to new recruits as well as “lateral hires” from other jurisdictions.
This morning, the City Council voted out of committee a bill authorizing the Seattle Police Department to pay hiring bonuses, as a new method to help it meet its hiring goals.
Last month I wrote about the status of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s legal challenge to the City of Seattle’s ordinance authorizing Uber and Lyft drivers to engage in collective bargaining. Briefly:
- Last year the city tried to get the case thrown out, arguing that it had “state-action immunity.” The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, and sent the case back down for further proceedings .
- In December, the City Council amended its ordinance so that it no longer authorizes collective bargaining over compensation, which was very likely to be found to be illegal price-fixing among competitors..
- In response, the Chamber of Commerce said that despite the change, it still believes the ordinance violates the Sherman Antitrust Act.
- The Chamber of Commerce indicated last month that it will move for summary judgment, skipping a trial. This is only allowed if there are no relevant facts in dispute.
- The city responded that it believes there are still relevant facts to be discovered, and will oppose the Chamber’s motion on those grounds.
- The court set a schedule for both sides to file legal briefs, starting with the Chamber of Commerce.
Last Friday, the Chamber started the ball rolling by filing its brief. Here’s what it says.
This afternoon, the Department of Justice submitted its brief to U.S. District Court Judge James Robart in response to his order to show cause why the terms of the city’s contract with SPOG and the recent reinstatement of Officer Adley Shepherd don’t mean that the city has fallen out of compliance with the Consent Decree.
In its brief, the DOJ argued that the overturning by an arbitrator of Shepherd’s termination isn’t a sign of a systemic pattern or practice of excessive use of force. It also found that the SPOG collective bargaining agreement neither conflicts with the Consent Decree nor threatens to undermine compliance with it.
Now that the federal shutdown is over, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart is restarting his review of the new collective bargaining agreement with SPOG, as well as the arbitrator’s ruling reinstating Officer Adley Shepherd.
Since the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a split-decision last fall, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s legal challenge to Seattle’s ordinance granting collective-bargaining rights to Uber and Lyft drivers has been back in the hands of the district court. But it’s proceeding in starts and stops, with the occasional flurry of motions and other legal filings. Today a joint status report filed by the parties extends that pattern.
Just before Christmas, the state Court of Appeals ruled that Initiative 124, which codified certain protections for hotel workers and was passed by Seattle voters in 2016, impermissibly contained more than one topic and invalidated the ordinance.
Earlier this week, the City of Seattle and UNITE HERE Local 8, the hospitality workers’ union, announced that they are appealing that ruling to the state Supreme Court.