Aug 17, 2023 - News

Raise for Minneapolis Uber, Lyft drivers is in Mayor Frey's hands

Illustration of Minneapolis City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

An ordinance that would raise pay and add protections for Uber and Lyft drivers in Minneapolis has reached the desk of Mayor Jacob Frey after a 7-5 vote in favor by the city council.

Yes, but: Frey has raised concerns about the ordinance and has not yet said if he will veto it ahead of Wednesday's deadline.

Why it matters: Drivers say they deserve better pay and more rules around how easily Uber and Lyft can deactivate them. The two companies said they will stop serving Minneapolis if the ordinance becomes law.

Catch up fast: The measure would require rideshare companies to pay drivers at least $1.40 per mile and 51 cents per minute, among other things.

The intrigue: The night before the vote, Frey sent an email to council members urging them to delay the matter and add amendments to the ordinance.

  • In a statement, a spokesperson said the mayor supports pay increases for drivers, but is concerned with "how the ordinance is written and the impact it will have" and that "he needs time to review the ordinance and the amendments made to it."

Between the lines: If Frey vetoes, an override will take nine council members, which the supporters don't appear to have.

What they're saying: Council members who voted in opposition said they wanted to wait for the state to take action next legislative session. A Gov. Tim Walz-created committee of drivers, riders and companies has been meeting to come up with recommendations for the DFL-controlled Legislature.

  • "We have a [DFL] trifecta at the state," said Council Member Andrew Johnson of Ward 12. "I would be extremely confident that they would be passing legislation next year early in the session. If they don't, I personally think that the city should."

The other side: Ordinance co-author Robin Wonsley (Ward 2) said Uber and Lyft are engaging in scare tactics.

  • "If we move implementation date back, we're depriving drivers of the thousands of dollars in wages that they could be earning," she said during the Thursday meeting.

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