Friday, July 19, 2024
Councillor Jason Chavez addresses MULDA members and drivers at March 14th Council meeting. "Uber and Lyft pulled out all the stops to try and scare the Council into stopping this policy, but we are with the drivers because we believe in people over profits. I’m proud to have worked with my colleague and drivers to get to this point. We overrode the Mayor’s Veto (10-3)." Photo: Twitter
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Minneapolis Council votes minimum wage for Uber/Lyft

Uber, Lyft say they will abandon the city by May 1st implementation

Dismissing Uber and Lyft’s threats to leave the city, the Minneapolis City Council voted 10-3 to override a mayoral veto of minimum pay rates for drivers, the Minnesota Reformer reports.

The vote on March 14th “sets up a six week standoff” the Reformer says, as both Uber and Lyft have announced they will end service in the entire Minneapolis area when the rates take effect on May 1.

Driver activists in the council chambers cheered after the vote was called in celebration of a significant victory.  Minneapolis Council Member Robin Wonsley, a supporter of the reforms, tweeted “MULDA held the line, even as leaders at the city and state tried to deny them fair wages. Uber and Lyft want us to believe they are untouchable, and the status quo of exploiting workers cannot be fixed. Today’s vote demonstrated that we can organize and win victories.” MULDA is the Minnesota Uber/Lyft Drivers Association, which spent months organizing to see reforms passed (see video, below).

The veto override sends the pitched political conflict back to the state Capitol, where legislators began hearings on a bill this week that would set statewide rates.

Apparently, Uber released a statement after the vote saying it was disappointed. However, Taxi News has been unable to locate this or any other statement online.

Rates set out in the March 14 ordinance are $1.40 per mile and 51 cents per minute. These are the amounts required to ensure Uber and Lyft drivers are guaranteed the city’s minimum wage of $15.57 an hour after accounting for their expenses.

The rates passed are actually higher than amounts required to guarantee drivers the same minimum wage promised to all other workers, according to a massive state analysis of the more than 18 million trips taken in Minnesota in 2022.

That study, the Reformer notes, is the largest of its kind ever conducted, and found that drivers would need to be paid 89 cents per mile and 49 cents per minute in order to earn the city’s minimum wage after paying for vehicle expenses and payroll taxes.

The study’s authors estimated a higher rate of $1.20 per mile and 49 cents per minute that would allow drivers to be able to earn the minimum wage after paying for comprehensive benefits including health insurance, paid sick leave, paid family and medical leave, retirement savings and unemployment insurance.

Peter Coors spoke an at organizational event for MULDA on August 21, 2023.