On Minneapolis’s New Minimum Pay Standard for Uber and Lyft Drivers

Following is a statement from Laura Padin, director of the Work Structures program at the National Employment Law Project:

“We applaud the Minneapolis City Council for passing a minimum pay standard for app-based ride-hail drivers and taking a critical step toward making gig work good work.

“The pay standard establishes a wage floor for app-based ride-hail drivers—a workforce that for too long has been underpaid and denied decent working conditions—and ensures that they get a fair share of the wealth they create for the app corporations.

For too long, app-based ride-hail drivers have been underpaid and denied decent working conditions.

“For years, Uber and Lyft have spent hundreds of millions of dollars across the country spreading misinformation about these jobs, lobbying to legalize their misclassification schemes, and making threats in response to any meaningful reform that would benefit workers, consumers, or the public.

“This law sends the message that Minneapolis will no longer put the interests of powerful corporations ahead of the interests of working people.

“Analysis by Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) shows that the pay rates reflected in the new City Council pay standard roughly correspond with what drivers need to earn to pull them up to Minneapolis’s $15.57 minimum wage. Uber and Lyft’s claims that they can’t afford to pay the same minimum wage that every ‘mom and pop’ business in Minneapolis pays are outrageous. And contrary to Uber’s charges that paying fair wages would force it to hike fares 30%, the data in the DLI analysis indicates that a very moderate 7.5% adjustment would cover the costs of paying drivers a full minimum wage. Moreover, much of that increase could easily be offset if Uber trimmed the huge fare hikes that it has been imposing in recent years to boost its corporate profits.

“We also congratulate the Minnesota Uber/Lyft Driver Association (MULDA), the driver organizing group that has exposed the worker exploitation at the heart of these app corporations’ business models and has been the force behind legislative reforms in Minneapolis and statewide. We will continue to support MULDA—and other driver-led organizing groups around the country—in demanding a fair share of the wealth they create and in holding the app corporations accountable to the working people that power their businesses.”

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