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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey vetoes rideshare minimum wage measure

The rideshare showdown between Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and the city council
The rideshare showdown between Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and the city council 01:29

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has vetoed a measure that would set a minimum wage and ensure other protections for rideshare drivers in the city.

Uber and Lyft threatened to pull their business out of the city if the measure took effect, and Frey shared his concerns with the city council before it passed the measure last week.

The proposal would have set a minimum wage for rideshare drivers that is equivalent to the city of Minneapolis' minimum wage at $15.19 -- at least $1.40 per mile and $0.51 per minute, or $5, whichever is greater.  

Though Frey issued a veto, he added that Uber has agreed to the $15.19 minimum wage effective immediately, though Lyft has not. Uber also committed to paying drivers at least $5 for any trip within the Minneapolis metro area.

The ordinance also set new rules on how companies can discipline, terminate or deactivate drivers. It also guaranteed riders and drivers would get receipts detailing how much the rider was charged and what the driver was paid.

Drivers would also have received greater employment protections, including a five-day notice before account deactivation, and rights to challenge a deactivation. That grace period would not have gone to drivers with dangerous offenses that threaten public safety. Uber agreed to working with the Somali Community Resettlement Services to help drivers who want to appeal their deactivation decision.

After the ordinance's passage, Uber said it was "disappointed" and "determining next steps." Lyft's statement urged Frey to veto the measure, and said it would cease operations in Minneapolis on Jan. 1 if he did not.

Frey said he needed more time to deliberate before passing the bill. He said he will start a process to to work with drivers, businesses, and rideshare companies to "put together an ordinance that is data-driven and clearly articulates policies based on known impacts, not speculation."

"This veto is an inexcusable betrayal of Minneapolis workers," said Councilmember Robin Wonsley, the lead author of the ordinance. "The ordinance was developed over eight months of consultation with drivers, city staff, and national experts. As a Council Member, Jacob Frey voted to approve a $15 minimum wage, but evidently he is ready to abandon any commitment to living wages or workers' rights under the pressure of lobbying by multibillion-dollar out-of-state corporations. This fight is not over." 

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz vetoed a similar measure passed by the legislature last session after Uber and Lyft issued similar threats to the state.

Minneapolis would not have been the first city to set a minimum wage for rideshare drivers. Washington and New York have statewide measures in place, and Seattle and New York City have enacted them at the state level.  

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