Unionization will kill the flexibility, freedom and personal accountability that make Uber so popular

By ERIN SHANNON  | 
Dec 17, 2015
BLOG

The headline of an article in Tuesday’s Seattle Times declares Seattle the first city to “give Uber drivers the power to unionize.” The article further explains the new law will, “give taxi, for-hire and Uber drivers the ability to unionize.”

This new law does not “give” anything to rideshare drivers; the opposite is true.  It takes away choice and freedom for drivers who do not want to join or support a union.

If a majority of drivers vote to unionize, every driver will be required to join the union and pay dues as a condition of employment.  Any driver who refuses to pay those dues will not be allowed to work.

One driver that has lobbied in favor of unionizing says he thinks the passengers who utilize Uber and Lyft services will support the new rules.  He says riders “feel so bad” for drivers because they don’t earn higher wages.  If that is really the case, those riders are free to tip drivers as generously as they need to make them feel better.   The pro-union driver says he just wants Uber to “pay us a living wage,” and concludes, “Seattleites want that.” 

What Seattleites want are the convenience, competitive prices and customer service that have made Uber and Lyft so popular.  If for-hire drivers unionize, the personal accountability that sets Uber apart from taxi-cab services will be gone. 

Uber drivers are directly responsible for the service they provide and the wages they earn.  Drivers who go the extra mile to make customers happy get top reviews, repeat passengers and more money; those who consistently do not get “deactivated.”  Unions will ensure drivers earn higher wages regardless of job performance, and they will make it impossible for under-performing drivers to get fired.

If Seattleites wanted drivers who don’t have incentives to make their customers happy in order to earn more money or keep working, they would still be using taxi cabs.