Minneapolis to drop rideshare minimum wage plan, look to future, council member says

Minneapolis to drop rideshare minimum wage plan, look to future, council member says

Minneapolis to drop rideshare minimum wage plan, look to future, council member says

The Minneapolis City Council was poised to pass its own rideshare minimum wage later this week. However, now that it would soon be void, Council Member Robin Wonsley — a months-long proponent of the proposal — said on Monday that the vote expected Thursday is off the table.

Wonsley said she’s proud that a statewide rideshare policy passed but disappointed that the city-level work she’s supported for months is rendered moot by a preemption built into the deal state lawmakers and Gov. Tim Walz made with Uber and Lyft late Saturday night.

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“We’re talking 10,000 drivers now who are going to benefit from these protections… So this is literally one of the best policies in the country, and I’m very proud that Council took the action that we did in passing this policy and being responsive to the needs of drivers,” Wonsley said.

“So while I’m proud about that component, I’m absolutely disappointed in the fact that Gov. Walz essentially placated Uber and Lyft by preempting Minneapolis and removing our local authority to set regulations on companies like Uber and Lyft going forward.”

Uber/Lyft driver and vice president of the Minnesota Uber/Lyft Drivers Association Marianna Brown was amongst the Capitol chaos in the Senate chambers as the pay raise passed in the final moments of the legislative session.

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“As you can see, my voice is a product of screaming last night. We were jumping for joy,” she shared with a much more raspy voice than normal.

The final deal set the minimum wage at $1.28 per mile and $0.31 per minute.

It’s less than the policy that Minneapolis was poised to approve, but Brown will settle for the 20% pay raise that got Uber and Lyft on board too.

“We deserve it. We deserve a livable wage,” she said, adding, “We deserve to treat our family to a meal and not worry that, ‘Can I pay this bill after this meal?’ We deserve that.”

Brown expressed some worry over Uber’s stated intention to also raise the rates riders will pay as a result.

Explaining the expected increase on Sunday, Uber senior director for policy and communications Josh Gold said, “The cost of providing a ride is going up,” adding that the increased rate for riders is “going to be substantial. But, it’s going to be much less than it would have been if Minneapolis’ ordinance went into effect.”

Earlier this year, Uber posted its first full year in the black since going public in 2019 with nearly $2 billion in reported profit.

“They could cover it,” Brown insisted. “Remember, Uber is just an app. The drivers buy the car, they provide the gas, they provide everything.”

Wonsley said she’s not done proposing rideshare-related ordinances and that she’ll soon be looking into the cost for rideshare companies to get licensed in the city, which is “over $30,000,” she reported. “It’s a pretty substantial fee.”

The plan, she said, would be in response to the start-up companies beginning to set up shop in the last couple of months amid the uncertainty over the future of Uber and Lyft in Minneapolis.

“We want to be able to make sure that small businesses can also exist in this market,” Wonsley said.

As for the new statewide minimum wage, that’s set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2025.