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Seattle City Council Says Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Unionize

But don't expect any negotiated gains in compensation to last because of the nature of the market.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

The Seattle city council has unanimously passed groundbreaking and controversial legislation that effectively allows drivers to bargain collectively with Uber, Lyft, and big taxi companies that treat drivers as independent contractors. Seattle mayor Ed Murray has refused to sign the legislation, but it is expected to become law anyway.

The measure’s supporters hope that it will raise drivers’ take-home income, perhaps providing them with a “living wage.” But the nature of the ride-sharing market means that this isn’t likely to work very well. Even assuming that drivers for Uber, Lyft, or other companies negotiate higher compensation for themselves, these gains are likely to be fleeting.

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