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Uber, Drivers Jump-Start Talks After $100 Million Pact Denied

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Uber Technologies Inc. doesnt seem ready to walk away from further negotiations with its drivers in their conflict over whether they should be treated as employees rather than independent contractors.

Three weeks after a federal judge threw out their $100 million settlement in a case central to the future of the sharing economy, the parties told a federal court of appeals theyve resumed negotiations. The parties have sought a 60 -day extension before their appeal as they attempt to hash out a fresh pact over compensation, according to the joint status report filed Sunday.

Although the district court has denied preliminary approval of the parties previously-negotiated settlement agreement, the parties continue to engage in good faith deliberations considering a potential resolution to these suits, reads the filing.

The original settlement had sought to do away with lawsuits with potentially billions of dollars in asserts under Californias bounty-hunter law, which gives employees the right to step into the shoes of the state labor secretary to bring enforcement actions.

Uber could have walked away from further negotiations after an appeals court hinted it might overrule a key pretrial ruling in the fight over whether drivers must be treated as employees. Todays statement to the court is clear indication theyre not quite ready to sever talks with their drivers.

Judges Denial

While acknowledging health risks for drivers and Uber if the suit goes to trial, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen concluded on Aug. 18 the deal was unfair, partly because it low-balled potential asserts under California law. He said he also wasnt remain convinced that changing the companys tipping policy would result in the substantially increased income for drivers as promised.

Lyft Inc ., the second-largest U.S. ride-hailing company behind Uber, moved closer on June 23 to sealing its $27 million enter into negotiations with drivers that leaves them classified as independent contractors. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in April had rejected an earlier $12.5 million offer, saying it shortchanged drivers because it didnt account for the companys rapid growth.

The Uber case is OConnor v. Uber Technology Inc ., 13 -cv-0 3826, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California( San Francisco ). The Lyft case is Cotter v. Lyft Inc ., 13 -cv-0 4065, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California( San Francisco ).

Read more: www.bloomberg.com

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