Uber and Lyft threaten to leave Minneapolis after city council approves minimum wage for drivers that would force tech companies to pay drivers $1.40 per mile and $0.51 per minute during trips. The ordinance, which the Council passed 7-5 on Thursday, could still be vetoed by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who has indicated that he was hesitant to sign the bill.
The unregulated market allows Uber and Lyft to avoid minimum wage laws across the country. The Minneapolis proposal would bring driver wages in line with the city’s $15 hourly minimum.
Reached for comment, the city council shared a statement from several members urging the Mayor to sign the ordinance into law. “Since Uber and Lyft entered the market, drivers have been working in an almost completely unregulated work environment with often very low wages and essentially no labor rights,” the statement read. “We strongly urge Mayor Frey not to bow to corporate pressure and ask him to sign the ordinance into law.”
Lyft sent the City Council a letter Tuesday threatening to leave the city by Jan. 1, the day the ordinance goes into effect, if the Mayor doesn’t remove it. “If this law becomes law, drivers will end up making less money because prices will probably double and only the wealthiest will be able to afford a ride,” said CJ Macklin, a Lyft spokesman. “We support a minimum income threshold for drivers, but it must be part of a broader state solution that also protects driver freedom.”
Twin Cities news station KSTP-TV report that the Mayor has expressed concerns. In an email to the city council, Frey suggested he would support the effort to increase protections for drivers, but was skeptical of the ordinance. “This ordinance will have a huge impact on our city in terms of worker protection, public safety, disability rights, and transportation goals,” Frey said in a statement. the email. “Clearly we need to allow more time for deliberation.”
Ally Peters, a spokeswoman for the Mayor’s office, said Frey “supports drivers getting paid more. However, she has deep concerns about how the ordinance is written and its impact. Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this year, the Minnesota state government considered a similar proposal, but it was ultimately vetoed by governor Tim Walz.