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Minneapolis city council members to propose rideshare driver protections

(Via wikimedia commons)

Three members of the Minneapolis city council are proposing legislation to raise the minimum wage for rideshare drivers after a state-wide proposal failed.

The state-wide measure faced strong criticism from rideshare companies, with Uber even threatening to pull out of greater Minnesota entirely, with higher fees and fewer drivers available in the metro. Minnesota Governor Walz vetoed the bill after it was passed by both the House and the Senate, saying the bill did not address the needs of riders or drivers. It was his first veto since taking office in 2018.

Minneapolis Councilmember Robin Wonsley said that the veto amounted to caving to corporate blackmail, while failing renters and workers. She, alongside fellow councilmembers Jason Chavez and Jamal Osman, are drafting a proposal alongside the Minnesota Uber/Lyft Driver’s Association (MULDA) to bring the measures in the legislative bill to Minneapolis.

Those measures include a set minimum wage, a list of drivers’ rights, and mandatory safety regulations.

MULDA said the demands for drivers are far from revolutionary. In Seattle, drivers make $1.50 per mile and $0.65 a minute. The Minnesota bill called for drivers to be paid at least $1.45 per mile and $0.34 per minute in the Twin Cities metro area and at least $1.25 per mile for trips that start outside the metro.

Dakota County officials praised the veto from the governor, saying that if Uber and Lyft restricted the apps in the state, disabled people might be left without transportation options for important appointments.

Uber has threatened to pull service before when regulations are passed. In 2020, it threatened to pull out of California after a bill was introduced that required ride-sharing companies to classify drivers as employees. Uber has pulled service out of entire countries due to fights with regulators, including Denmark and Romania.

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