An example of bad policy, Seattle’s City Council voted unanimously this week to condemn Uber and Lyft drivers to the mercy of organized labor.
If a majority of drivers who have completed at least 150 trips in the past 30 days give statements of interest, regardless of an individual driver’s consent, Uber and Lyft will be forced to provide “Qualified Driver Representatives” (union bosses) with “the names, addresses, email addresses (if available), and phone number (if available) of all qualifying drivers they hire, contract with, or partner with.”
But Uber and Lyft drivers do not want to be compelled into the rigid structures of a union. According to a study from Alan Krueger, former chairman to President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, and Jonathan Hall, head of policy research at Uber, the top two reasons why drivers contract with Uber and Lyft is “to earn more income to better support my family” and “to be my own boss and set my own schedule.” 73 percent of drivers prefer to be their own boss and have a flexible schedule. Over 70 percent of drivers say the flexibility in the service is what makes it so appealing to them.
Simply talking to Uber and Lyft drivers is enough to understand that drivers use the services because they can be their own boss. Most drivers have other jobs and only drive during their free time to make money. They do not want or need another person, or “Qualified Driver Representative,” telling them when and where they can work.
The actions taken by the Seattle City Council undermine the reason why drivers work for Uber and Lyft in the first place.