Minneapolis joins other visionary cities to combat gig economy exploitation
The Minneapolis City Council recently adopted an ordinance that requires increased pay and other protections for rideshare drivers who work for Uber, Lyft, and similar gig economy businesses. To that end, the ordinance compels rideshare companies to pay drivers at least $1.40 per mile and 51 cents per minute now and to provide yearly enhancements consistent with the approach under the Minneapolis minimum wage ordinance recently upheld by the Minnesota Supreme Court. This is an important development because rideshare drivers say their pay from companies like Uber and Lyft has decreased dramatically while the costs associated with driving have increased dramatically. Given this reality, Seattle, New York City, San Francisco, and other localities committed to ending wage theft and otherwise securing workplace fairness have implemented measures similar to what the Minneapolis City Council just approved.
As expected, Uber and Lyft have threatened to stop doing business in Minneapolis if Mayor Jacob Frey signs the ordinance into law. In response, Minneapolis Councilmember Jamal Osman stated as follows: “Uber and Lyft trying to scare us with their threat to leave doesn’t impress us. These companies need to care more about their drivers than just making money. We won’t give in to their pressure tactics. . . . This ordinance is a great step forward for drivers, and I will continue my commitment to stand alongside them.” Councilmember Osman also emphasized the following in defense of the ordinance: “We’re standing together. It’s time for these corporations to prioritize their drivers over corporate greed.” Such public declarations, which evidently represent the commitment of the Minneapolis City Council in general, are especially significant given Governor Tim Walz vetoed a similar law adopted by the Minnesota Legislature after rideshare companies made similar threats to stop doing business in Minnesota.