Minneapolis City Council Overturns Mayor Frey’s Veto, Winning Historic Minimum Wage Victory for Uber and Lyft Drivers

Council Member Jamal Osman

6th Ward News from Council Member Jamal Osman


Minneapolis City Council Overturns Mayor Frey’s Veto, Winning Historic Minimum Wage Victory for Uber and Lyft Drivers

Ten Council Members voted to override the veto despite corporate lobbying


MINNEAPOLIS – The Minneapolis City Council has voted to require Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft to pay drivers rates that are equivalent to the city’s $15.57 minimum wage. The victory comes after over eighteen months of labor organizing by drivers and legislative work by the City Council and represents a major step forward for efforts to improve wages and working conditions for drivers across the state and the country.


“This is a David and Goliath story. Regular working-class people took on two corporate giants and their political allies, and won. Uber and Lyft want us to believe they are untouchable, and the status quo of exploiting workers cannot be fixed. Today’s vote demonstrated that all of this was just a question of political will. I’m so proud to have worked with these drivers every step of the way to make today’s victory a reality,” said Council Member Robin Wonsley, the lead author on the policy.


The ordinance requires that TNCs pay drivers a minimum of $1.40 per mile and $0.51 per minute for all portions of a ride occurring within Minneapolis, the rates that best approximate the city’s $15.57 minimum wage. Recently released data from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry reports that the median earnings for drivers in the metro area is $13.63, with 25% of drivers in the metro area earning under $10.54 per hour.


“Drivers are human beings with families, and they deserve dignified minimum wages like all other workers. Today’s vote showed Uber, Lyft, and the Mayor that the Minneapolis City Council will not allow the East African community, or any community, to be exploited for cheap labor. The Council chooses workers over corporate greed,” said Council Member Jamal Osman, a co-author on the policy.


Throughout the legislative process, Mayor Frey has centered Uber and Lyft’s claims that they would leave the city if subjected to the local minimum wage. Other cities have faced these claims and grappled with the choice between prioritizing profits for billion-dollar companies or living wages and basic rights for workers. Minneapolis proudly joins others like Seattle and New York in siding with workers. Advancing a minimum wage for ride share companies has also led to a number of startup TNCs working to obtain licenses in Minneapolis, including the worker-owned Drivers Coop which is currently operating in New York and Denver.


“Uber and Lyft pulled out all the stops to try and scare Council into weakening and delaying this policy, but we stood strong with drivers because we believe in people over profits. The Minneapolis City Council has often led the state when it comes to workers’ rights, and I hope that today’s vote leads the legislature to pass a statewide policy to go alongside ours,” said Council Member Jason Chavez, a co-author on the policy.


The policy was written in consultation with drivers, riders, the public, city staff, national experts, and state legislators. In August of 2023, Council passed the Fair Drives, Safe Rides ordinance that included minimum compensation, drivers’ rights, and safety protections for both drivers and riders. The Mayor vetoed the policy. In October 2023, co-authors Wonsley, Chavez, and Osman introduced two separate ordinances: one for minimum compensation, and another for rights and protections. Following today’s victory on minimum compensation, the co-authors will now work to advance the rights and protections ordinance through the legislative process.


The Council Members who voted to override the veto were Council Members Wonsley, Ellison, Osman, Cashman, Jenkins, Chavez, Koski, Chowdhury, Vice President Chughtai, and President Payne.


“Rideshare companies have been growing at the expense of drivers for a decade and it’s time to start regulating them,” said Council President Elliott Payne. “Thank you to the drivers, city staff, and my colleagues for your hard work on this ordinance. I look forward to this Council continuing to pass worker protections this term so that all workers are able to live fulfilling lives in our city.”

Contact Ward 6

Visit: minneapolismn.gov/ward6
Email: jamal.osman@minneapolismn.gov
Phone: 612-673-2206

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