SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Uber and Lyft, the two biggest rideshare companies, are telling their drivers they are willing to compromise with a proposal that includes a minimum wage of $21 per hour.
The new proposal comes after days of protests that brought a caravan of rideshare drivers through San Francisco and ended in Sacramento Wednesday.
The demonstrating drivers said they are demanding a living wage and pushing for Assembly Bill 5, which would classify rideshare drivers as employees instead of independent contractors.
Lyft sent a message to its drivers, asking them to talk their legislators out of the bill, saying it could cause the company to "offload" or layoff hundreds of thousands of drivers. The message from Lyft also told drivers that AB5 could cost customers more money and make them wait longer for a car.
In lieu of the legislation, Lyft said it is willing to compromise with drivers, promising they would get paid at least $21 dollars per hour, receive some benefits and also get their voices heard within the company.
"Lyft is advocating for an approach in line with the interests of our drivers, by modernizing century-old labor laws that make it difficult to provide both flexibility and benefits," Lyft said in a statement. "That's why we've been working on a different solution, so drivers can continue to control where, when, and how long they drive, while also having some basic protections like a minimum earnings floor, a system of worker-directed portable benefits, and representation."
Lyft driver Edan Alva was in Sacramento Wednesday with a group called Gig Workers Rising that is advocating for the passage of AB5. He says he usually makes between $20 and $25 per hour depending on tips, which, in the Bay Area, is not enough.
"$21 dollars an hour is an insult to drivers," Alva said. "There is no way to make ends meet, I can't afford healthcare insurance for me and my son."
Tech Crunch is reporting that Uber is also pushing the $21 dollar an hour minimum wage through a petition urging Uber drivers to move away from AB5.
Uber driver Rob Lyon said the company needs to figure out a way to pay its drivers more.
"They have to reward the individual drivers that provide a five star service with a five star paycheck," Lyon said.
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