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L.A. City Council President Proposes $30 Per Hour Wages for Uber, Lyft Drivers

A ride share driver picks up passengers at O'Hare Airport on April 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A ride share driver picks up passengers at O'Hare Airport on April 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

City Council President Herb Wesson is proposing to raise the minimum wage for Los Angeles rideshare drivers to at least $30 per hour.

The measure would require Uber and Lyft to provide a $15 per hour payment to drivers, in addition to at least another $15 per hour for operating expenses like gas, insurance and wear-and-tear on vehicles, Wesson said in a news release Tuesday.

“The flexibility that a ridesharing gig provides should not serve as an excuse for short-changing these drivers,” Wesson said in a written statement. “Earning less than $10 per hour in Los Angeles simply won’t cut it. If these companies want to operate in Los Angeles, they need to compensate their workers fairly.”

A 2018 study found that Uber drivers make an average of $9.21 an hour after deducting expenses, fees and taxes, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank.

The proposal comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed sweeping labor legislation to give wage and benefit protections to rideshare drivers. The legislation, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, makes it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees, who are entitled to minimum wage and benefits like workers compensation and health insurance premiums.

Uber and Lyft leaders opposed the bill, writing an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle that argued that classifying drivers as employees instead of independent contractors would “pose a risk to their businesses,” and that it ignores that drivers are supplementing income from other work and that they enjoy the flexibility.

Many rideshare drivers have been fighting for better treatment for years.

Uber drivers in 10 cities, including Los Angeles, went on strike in May to protest what they described as unfair pay and a lack of transparency.

“While ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are creating safer mobility options for our residents, their business model is not aligned with our City’s deep-rooted values and weakens the City’s social safety net set up to protect the most vulnerable members of our community,” Wesson said.

Wesson’s proposal is expected to be heard by the Economic Development Committee, according to the news release.

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