Los Angeles lawmakers have commissioned a study to see how a $30 per hour wage would work out for ride-share drivers for companies like Uber, Lyft and Door Dash.
LA City Council President, Herb Wesson, had asked for an ordinance to be drafted that would require ride-share companies to pay their drivers a $15 hourly wage plus an additional $15 to cover drivers’ expenses since they use their own vehicles.
More than 100 drivers for Uber and Lyft were present at the City Council meeting on Tuesday morning.
Mobile Workers Alliance and Gig Workers Rising, are two unions representing Uber and Lyft ride-share drivers.
Eduardo Belalcazar, who is a driver and a member of the Mobile Workers Alliance union, supports government intervention because the two giant companies that have the majority of the ride-share business only look out for their own interests and profits at the expense of the drivers.
Another ride-share driver, James Hicks, who is a member of another union, the Rideshare Drivers United, told KCBS-TV that drivers have more to worry about than just paying their rent. Since their cars provide their livelihood, they need to constantly make sure their vehicles are maintained to keep then on the road.
However, a spokesperson for Lyft, Lauren Alexander, told Fox News that the company does provide a guaranteed wage level. She said that ride-share driver earnings have increased 6.4 percent during the last two years and that in actuality, drivers earn on average more than $31 per hour.
Uber’s spokesperson told the Times that while the company supports a commitment to their driver’s earnings, it is concerned that the study’s results could end up being biased because it may be based on false assumptions.
The Economic Policy Institute,(EPI) which is based in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit organization that does economic research and analyzes policies and proposals and the impact they will have on the economy. The Times reported a study done by the EPI in 2018 which concluded that nationally, Uber drivers made only $11.77 per hour after they deducted vehicle expenses and fees charged by Uber. Furthermore, after taxes and benefits, that hourly wage decreased to $9.21.
In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, signed a bill into law that would protect independent contractors as well as give wage and benefit protection to ride-share drivers.
Uber, Lyft and Door Dash are preparing to exempt themselves from the law with a 2020 ballot initiative.