Frey vetoes Minneapolis rideshare ordinance, announces commitment from Uber

Frey vetoes Minneapolis rideshare ordinance, announces commitment from Uber

Frey vetoes Minneapolis rideshare ordinance, announces commitment from Uber

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has vetoed the ordinance that would set a minimum wage and additional protections for rideshare drivers in the city but announced a pledge from Uber.

Frey’s decision comes five days after the Minneapolis City Council voted 7-5 to approve the measure.

RELATED: Minneapolis rideshare drivers react to council’s approval of minimum wage ordinance

The move means the council will vote at its meeting on Sept. 7 to override his veto, with at least nine votes required to approve the ordinance. If it doesn’t get the required support, it would be dead and the process would have to start over at a later time.

If the override effort is successful, the policy — which would guarantee rideshare drivers at least $0.51 per minute and $1.40 per mile or $1.81 per mile for drivers in wheelchair-accessible vehicles, 80% of canceled ride fees and more protections against deactivation — would take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. However, an override seems unlikely.

“Over the past couple weeks, I have spoken with drivers, riders, advocates, business associations, labor unions, and rideshare companies alike – and from the feedback we gathered, it’s clear we need more time to get this right,” Frey said in a statement. “In the coming weeks, we will work in partnership with all stakeholders to do our homework, deliberate, and make sure we put together an ordinance that is data-driven and clearly articulates policies based on known impacts, not speculation.”

Supporters of the measure denounced Frey’s veto, with council member Robin Wonsley, one of the authors of the ordinance, saying:

“This veto is an inexcusable betrayal of Minneapolis workers. The ordinance was developed over eight months of consultation with drivers, city staff, and national experts. As a Council Member, Jacob Frey voted to approve a $15 minimum wage, but evidently he is ready to abandon any commitment to living wages or workers’ rights under the pressure of lobbying by multibillion-dollar out-of-state corporations. This fight is not over. The drivers who have been organizing for this will continue to show up, because their livelihoods are on the line. And as long as I’m in City Hall, I’ll support their work and the rights and dignity of every worker in the city.”

The mayor’s office added that although he vetoed the measure, Uber has committed to pay drivers in Minneapolis a rate that equates to at least minimum wage, with no driver making less than $5 for any trip in the Minneapolis metro area. That commitment starts immediately.

The company also told the mayor’s office it will work with Somali Community Resettlement Services to help any driver wishing to appeal a deactivation.

Uber confirmed those commitments in a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS also asked Lyft if it has plans to guarantee similar rates and services for its drivers but didn’t receive a direct response about that, only a prepared statement that can be seen below.

The night before the council’s vote last week, Frey sent a letter to council leaders, saying “additional data and conversations” are needed before the city makes a decision, given the impact it could have.

Uber and Lyft have threatened to cut back or pull services entirely from Minneapolis if the ordinance is implemented. While the measure aims to get drivers paid more, the companies say that also means rides in Minneapolis will be more expensive for passengers and could lead to fewer rides.

State lawmakers approved a very similar proposal this spring before Gov. Tim Walz vetoed it and, instead, created a workgroup to study the issue and provide recommendations for a rideshare bill next year. Those recommendations are due by Jan. 1.

Some of the Minneapolis City Council members who voted against the bill last week specifically cited their desire to wait for those recommendations before approving a rideshare ordinance. Those in favor of the measure say the city and its drivers shouldn’t wait to take action.

Lyft released the following statement Tuesday after the mayor’s veto announcement:

“Mayor Frey was right to listen to drivers, riders and our communities and reject the proposal. By attempting to jam through this deeply-flawed bill in less than a month, it threatened rideshare operating within the city. We support a minimum earning standard for drivers, but it should be part of a broader policy framework that balances the needs of riders and drivers. Minneapolis drivers on Lyft last quarter earned on average more than $37 per utilized hour, including tips and bonuses. We’re committed to continue collaborating with stakeholders at both the state and local level on a sustainable solution that improves on this for everybody moving forward.”

The company also confirmed that, as long as the council doesn’t override the mayor’s veto, Lyft has no plans to leave the city.

Uber offered the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

“It remains our goal to pass comprehensive, statewide legislation that will raise rates for drivers without sacrificing ridership. In that effort, we look forward to continued work on the Governor’s Task Force. In the meantime, for engaged time in Minneapolis (time spent en route to a passenger and while a passenger is in the vehicle), Uber will guarantee all drivers will earn at least the equivalent of the Minneapolis minimum wage, with no trip fare resulting in less than $5. We appreciate Mayor Frey’s thoughtful approach and the opportunity to continue working together to get this right and hope the Minnesota legislature quickly passes a statewide compromise in February.”