In one fell swoop, Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. on Tuesday fended off labor protections that were decades in the making, allowing the companies to keep compensating their drivers as independent contractors.

By design, very little will change under the ballot measure approved by California voters that was underwritten by the ride-hailing companies, along with Instacart Inc., DoorDash Inc. and Postmates Inc.

While Proposition 22 requires these app-based transportation services to offer some modest new perks for drivers, it protects them from having to provide much costlier benefits that full-time employees get.

For the companies, that makes the more than $200 million they and their supporters