Minneapolis nearing rideshare policy changes to increase pay and add protections, not waiting for state policy
Some Minneapolis city council members are not waiting for the state to act when it comes to implementing increased pay and added protections for Uber and Lyft drivers.
The ‘Fair Drives, Safe Rides’ policy is a step closer to a full council vote after the Business, Inspections, Housing & Zoning committee voted to approve a public hearing for the policy.
Leading the charge for change are council members Jamal Osman, Jason Chavez, and Robin Wonsley. In a joint statement, the three say the policy “will protect basic workers’ rights and dignified wages for thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers.”
Their statement goes on to break down “policy highlights:”
- Guarantees drivers a minimum compensation of $0.51 per minute and $1.40 per mile that they have a rider in the vehicle, amounts that increase annually proportional to the city’s minimum wage.
- Guarantees riders and drivers get receipts detailing how much the rider was charged, how much the driver received, and how much went to the company.
- Removes the ability to pay for a ride with a gift card to increase accountability for rider misconduct.
- Establishes policies and timelines for why and how a company can deactivate a driver.
- Establishes rights and timelines for a driver to challenge a deactivation and legal representation in such challenges.
- Gives the city the authority to create and/or fund a nonprofit drivers resource center to support in education, advocacy, and legal representation for drivers.
“We’re putting workers first over corporations because people over corporate greed is what needs to happen,” Councilmember Chavez said as Uber and Lyft drivers applauded around him.
His fellow council member echoed his comments.
“This policy gives the City of Minneapolis the opportunity to mitigate the harmful and exploitive workplace conditions that these drivers are subjected to every single day,” Councilmember Wonsley said.
In statements regarding the proposed city policy, both Uber and Lyft rejected the ideas and said it’s best for the governor and state legislators to pave the way.
“Our goal remains unchanged: we want to work with drivers and local legislators on a compromise that raises rates for drivers without hurting riders. That’s why we’re proud to serve on the Governor’s Task Force and look forward to coming up with a framework for statewide legislation — which is how this issue should be handled, rather than a patchwork of different rules and regulations statewide.”
-Freddi Goldstein, Uber
“This proposal doubles down on the flawed bill vetoed by Gov. Walz earlier this year, which would have made rideshare in Minneapolis more expensive than in New York City. Drivers would have earned less, since only the most wealthy could have afforded a ride. Lyft is actually part of the state’s task force on this very issue and is currently working with drivers and other stakeholders, including the city of Minneapolis, to make recommendations grounded in actual data on how best to support rideshare drivers. Instead of ramming through bad policy on the backs of riders, we should wait for the task force to complete its work.”
In May, following the last legislative session, Gov. Tim Walz vetoed a bill with similar framework as the plans Minneapolis could implement. At the time, Uber had threatened to pull services entirely from outside the Twin Cities and metro area if Walz signed the legislation.
Along with the veto, Gov. Walz ordered the creation of a work group to study the issue – called the ‘Governor’s Committee on the Compensation, Wellbeing, and Fair Treatment of Transportation Network Company Driver.’ The group met for the first time Tuesday.
“The ultimate goal of providing the governor with recommendations to address compensation while being fair treatment of transportation network company drivers,” Nicole Blissenbach, co-chair of the work group and commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, said as the meeting began.
The committee, which can be followed here, is made up of state leaders, representatives from Uber and Lyft, and rideshare drivers.
As for Minneapolis’ possible policy, the public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 8, at 1:30 p.m., at Minneapolis City Hall, room 317. Before that, there are three information sessions:
- Riders: July 27, 6-7:30 p.m. at 505 4th Avenue South, room 100
- Drivers: Aug. 2, 6-7”30 p.m. at 2307 4th Avenue South (Somali, Oromo, Amharic, and Spanish)
- Everyone: Aug. 3, 6-7:30 p.m. at 505 4th Avenue South, room 100 (also online and recorded)
A full city council vote could happen as early as Aug. 17.