Mayor Durkan Signs Fare Share Wage Ordinance to Ensure Uber and Lyft Drivers are Paid Fairly

SEATTLE (October 8, 2020) – Surrounded – virtually – by supporters and community members, Mayor Durkan signed legislation today creating a new minimum compensation standard for Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle. This new ordinance ensures all drivers are paid at least the Seattle minimum wage plus reasonable expenses, guarantees that drivers are paid for all of the time they spend working, and protects drivers from unlawful deductions. Today’s bill signing ceremony follows the unanimous passage of the Mayor’s proposal by City Council last week.

“The pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the consequences of the growing gig work industries, most of which do not provide standard worker protections. This legislation will significantly improve the compensation for the vast majority of Uber and Lyft drivers in our city. I am grateful to all of the Teamsters 117 for their partnership, to all of the drivers who fought for this change and to Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who sponsored this bill,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “As we rebuild our economy and City in the wake of COVID-19, and as demand for TNC services begins to recover, we must build back better by ensuring fair wages for Uber and Lyft drivers. It is more important than ever that we pay drivers a fair wage and strengthen the economic resilience of our community of drivers.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, drivers – designated as essential, frontline workers – have been disproportionately impacted by a lack of standard worker protections and a safety net, including unemployment and healthcare. The ordinance signed today will compensate drivers at a rate that allows for the purchase of health insurance, among other expenses.

“Today we celebrate the hard, long-fought efforts of drivers to secure basic wages, stability, health and safety standards, and transparency in their essential jobs. No one should have to work eighty or more hours per week; no one should work that much and still struggle to provide basic support for themselves and their families. With the signing of this legislation, it is now the law in Seattle for drivers to be paid at least a minimum wage, have a guaranteed rest break, have health and safety protections for drivers and passengers, and ensures greater transparency in fees and pay — that’s what we are celebrating today. Not only is it the right thing to do by drivers, but it’s the right thing to do for all Seattleites. Congratulations to all the drivers, Teamsters 117, all who worked hard to pass this law, and Mayor Durkan on this historic signing.”

The minimum compensation standard established by this ordinance is based on a study by James Parrott of The New School and Michael Reich of the University of California, Berkeley, which found that drivers in Seattle were making $9.73 an hour after expenses, well below the Seattle minimum wage. Using the study, Seattle will mandate that TNCs pay drivers at least $0.56 per minute and $1.33 per mile  and will ensure drivers are paid for all of their time, including the time spent circling and waiting for a ride.

“Drivers have waged a long, multi-year campaign to achieve today’s victory for fair pay,” said Peter Kuel, President of Drivers Union and an Uber and Lyft driver since 2013.  “In that time, we’ve suffered pay cut after pay cut, making it more and more difficult to support our families. Mayor Durkan’s Fare Share Plan changes that by ensuring our pay keeps up with the cost of living.”

In extensive outreach conducted by the City to almost 11,000 drivers, current TNC drivers consistently cited the need for increased pay and compensation as their highest priority. Uber and Lyft drivers in King County are disproportionately low income and predominately from immigrant and refugee communities. Signing a new wage standard for Uber and Lyft drivers into law is a critical part of rebuilding our economy and economic resiliency for drivers in the wake of COVID-19.

The minimum compensation standard goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

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