Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Minnesota governor vetoes higher pay for Lyft, Uber drivers

scheduled tribe. Paul, Minn. (AP) – Gov. Tim Walz vetoed a bill on Thursday that would have mandated higher wages and job security for Lyft and Uber drivers in Minnesota, saying the legislation was not ready to become law.

“Rideshare drivers deserve fair pay and safe working conditions,” Walz said in a statement announcing his first veto in his more than five years as governor. , This is not the right bill to achieve these goals.”

Uber threatened to offer premium-priced service only in the Minneapolis-St. Walz signed the law completely shutting down the service in the Paul area and the rest of Minnesota.

The Democratic governor said, “This bill could make Minnesota one of the most expensive states in the country for rideshare, potentially putting us on par with the cost of rides in New York City and Seattle.” In a letter to the MLA leaders

Uber and Lyft drivers have held noisy but peaceful demonstrations outside Walz’s office at the Capitol in recent days, demanding that the governor sign the bill. They were clearly audible through closed doors earlier Thursday as he signed a bill creating a paid family and medical leave system.

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Ride-hailing drivers, like other gig economy workers, are generally treated as independent contractors who are not entitled to minimum wage and other benefits, and have to cover their own gas and car payments. A California appeals court ruled in March that companies like Uber and Lyft can continue to treat their drivers there as independent contractors.

But most gig workers in Seattle became entitled to paid sick leave and protected time off under the first law in the country that took effect in March. And the Biden administration last year proposed new standards that could make it more difficult to classify millions of workers as independent contractors and deny them the minimum wage and benefits. Ride-hailing and delivery driving are among the deadliest occupations in the country, according to occupational death and injury data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While Walz vetoed the bill, he also signed an executive order launching a study into the working conditions of ride-hail drivers and how the potential changes could affect costs and access for riders. .

His order also sets up a committee to make recommendations by January 1 for legislation to ensure drivers are fairly compensated, ensure due process before drivers are terminated, limit the impact on fairs and Ensure continued operation of ride-hail services in Minnesota.

The bill was supported by Democratic Sen. Omar Fateh of Minneapolis, who was hoisted into the air by drivers outside the Senate chamber just after the bill passed on Sunday. Fateh is the first Somali American to serve in the Minnesota Senate, and many Uber and Lyft drivers come from the area’s large Somali and East African communities.

The bill would require that drivers be paid a minimum of $5 per ride in a metropolitan area, or at least $1.45 per mile and 34 cents per minute. Rents would have been slightly lower in the rest of Minnesota. It would also make it more difficult for companies to “deactivate” drivers from their platforms as drivers said they could be terminated without cause.

But some Democrats complained that as Fatih’s bill made its way through the process it needed more work to address concerns.

Fateh tweeted that the veto showed the “power corporations’ grip on our government” despite controlling the “trifecta” of the governor’s office and both houses of the legislature for the first time in eight years.

“The fight is not over and I promise you that I will not back down,” Fateh tweeted. “Going into next season will be my top priority.”

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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