Minneapolis City Council members may delay the rollout of Uber and Lyft's minimum wage ordinance

With a vote looming this week to reconsider Minneapolis' new minimum wage law, City Council President Elliot Payne and Councilmembers Katie Cashman and Oren Chowdhury say they will seek to push back the law's effective date by two months, to July 1.

Council members say the delay will allow them to cooperate with state lawmakers and buy more time for new ride-sharing startups looking to enter the metro market. Several companies have expressed interest in operating in the Twin Cities to fill the gaps left by Uber and Lyft, which have pledged to leave the city once the ordinance takes effect.

The city's ride-sharing ordinance, passed last month over a veto by Mayor Jacob Frey, has caused increasing consternation among business groups, people with disabilities and leading advocates, as its May 1 start date approaches.

Council Member Andrea Jenkins, who voted in favor of the ordinance, asked the council to reconsider it at its meeting Thursday.

Payne, Cashman and Choudhury say they are open to changes, and will seek to extend the implementation date to July 1. The three members must provide enough votes to activate the postponement.

“This is a good faith extension of us as council members to work on our legislative process, collaborate with leaders in the state, ensure drivers get the fair compensation they need, and support emerging ride-sharing companies and the riders who embrace them,” the three said in their statement. “It is up to Uber and Lyft to decide whether they will treat their workers fairly, pay them adequately, or continue their egregious behavior of intimidating the public with their threats to leave Minneapolis residents behind,” a joint statement Wednesday said.

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Uber spokesman Josh Gould said Wednesday that the company will continue to operate in Minneapolis through July 1 if the council postpones the effective date.

“The proposed delay gives us more time to continue working with state leaders to come up with a comprehensive statewide solution that increases wages across the state, protects flexibility and keeps trips affordable for everyone,” he said.

City and state analyzes show that the two ride-sharing companies currently compensate drivers — many of whom are working-class immigrants — less than the minimum wage in Minneapolis. But with the city's rates at $1.40 per mile and 51 cents per minute, Uber and Lyft have threatened to abandon the market, saying it would be too expensive to operate here. The move will be messy in the near term, before competing ride-sharing startups get a chance to acquire and hire licensed drivers, representatives of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the hospitality industry made the announcement at a press conference earlier this week.

Four new ride-sharing companies have applied for a license to operate in Minneapolis, but none have completed the process yet.

A majority of 13 council members must agree to reopen the law for further study on Thursday before it can be amended in any way, including changing the effective date.

Additional suggestions

The law's original authors, Council Members Robin Wonsley, Jason Chavez and Jamal Osman, also issued a joint statement on Wednesday, saying they would support delaying implementation until July 1 — but would not support repealing the law or changing the rate if it would keep drivers on the job. Being paid less than the Minneapolis minimum wage of $15.57.

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The co-authors said they will introduce a proposal Thursday to ensure price transparency by requiring rideshare companies to send receipts to both riders and drivers showing how much the driver paid, as well as requiring rideshare companies to submit regular reports to the city.

“Uber and Lyft drivers are being paid less than the minimum wage, which is fundamentally wrong and goes against our shared values. We passed this law because the current ride-sharing system is broken, and we were shocked to see the way this system leads to exploitative labor practices.” “Inaction was not and is not an option,” according to a statement by Payne, Cashman and Chowry.

Uber and Lyft have said they might be willing to stay if driver compensation rates are limited to more modest increases, such as the 89 cents per mile and 49 cents per minute rate, specified in the state Department of Labor and Industry report.

Meanwhile, Councilmembers Jenkins and Emily Koski also issued a joint statement on Wednesday saying they would propose adjusting the ordinance rate to $1.21 per mile, as recommended in the state report while maintaining the city's 51-cent per-minute rate, and making six-month and one-year assessments. From the date of implementation. Both Jenkins and Koski support moving the effective date to July 1.

“This is the only plan to address the price disparity that has been clearly presented to the public and will provide an effective and quick solution to this issue,” the statement said. “It is time to move forward based on our intentions and the current data available – not one or the other.

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