Seattle adopts minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers


(Bigstock photo)

Seattle became the second largest city in the country to set a minimum wage standard for Uber and Lyft drivers on Tuesday.

The Seattle City Council unanimously voted to adopt new regulations designed to earn Uber and Lyft drivers the city’s $ 16.39 per hour minimum wage.

The new law requires transportation network companies to pay drivers a minimum of $ 0.56 per minute when being a passenger in a vehicle, as well as a per-mile rate to cover expenses. The city says the standard will ensure that drivers earn at least Seattle’s minimum wage, assuming they spend about 50% of their time waiting for rides or passengers to pick up. The minimum compensation standard comes into effect on 1 January.

Previously: The debate over Uber and Lyft driver’s pay comes to a head as Seattle prepares to set minimum wage

The law has been enacted after the minimum wage standard was passed in New York City 2018, although Council President Teresa Mosqueda rejected the connection during the hearing. Seattle hired two researchers who advised New York City officials to recommend a minimum wage standard when approving the ordinance. Uber and Lyft supported a separate study by Cornell researchers that yielded quite different conclusions. Competition studies highlight the complexities of setting a minimum wage for gig workers.

Uber and Lyft have long said that New York should serve as a cautionary tale for Seattle. An increase in prices in New York and a decrease in ride activity led to legislation being passed. Applications now restrict the number of New York drivers who can work at a time, allowing some drivers to sleep in their cars so that they do not miss the chance to log-on, voice reports.

Michael Wolff, director of the Uber-backed group Drive Forward, said during Tuesday’s hearing, “We will ask the city not to pass this law and go back to the drawing board and fail in the duplication system from other cities.”

But advocates for minimum pay, like Teamsters 117 and the affiliated drivers’ union, say it is an essential safeguard for drivers.

“We want to raise every worker in this action, and especially every worker in this city,” Moscaida said during the hearing.

The minimum wage is part of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s “Fair Share” program launched in September, which raised taxes on every Uber and Lyft ride last November. It is the latest in a series of city ordinances targeting the gig economy.

“Seattle is once again leading the nation by passing a fair salary for Uber and Lyft drivers,” said Peter Boole, president of the Drivers Union associated with Teamsters in 2013 and Uber. “Such a historic victory should serve as an inspiration to all gig workers across the country as possible through organizing together as a union to demand fair treatment.”

In June, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved legislation requiring food delivery companies to pay drivers $ 2.50 per delivery based on their regular rates to compensate for costs and risks that would occur during an epidemic. Working with drivers. A few months ago, the US Chamber of Commerce, Uber and the city of Seattle agreed to walk away from a long and complicated legal battle over a law that would allow drivers to form unions.

Council member Lisa Herbold suggested that during Tuesday’s hearing the minimum wage could be increased for other types of gig workers.

“We are not going to allow contract workers in our city to behave this way,” she said. “I hope that in the future we can work on similar legislation for other drivers … such as package delivery drivers as well as food and food delivery drivers.”

Herbold said the law is right for artificially low prices at which Uber and Lyft offer their services.

“Flooding the market with drivers pushes costs down to the customer but does so at the expense of workers,” she said. “It’s like other gig businesses, as well, where the cost of providing the service is passed on to workers in the form of low income and benefits.”

In a statement issued ahead of the vote, Lyft warned that the minimum wage would cost jobs in Seattle.

“The City’s plan is deeply flawed and will actually destroy jobs for thousands – as many as 4,000 drivers on the lift alone – and drive ride-share companies out of Seattle,” the company said.

When asked about the vote, Uber referred to a letter sent to the city council earlier this month.

“Uber may have to make changes in Seattle because of this new law, but the real disadvantage here won’t be to Uber … it’s the drivers who can’t work and the community members unable to complete the necessary travel ordinance. Standing in front of you to lose due to. “