Lyft is planning to file a lawsuit today against the city of New York in an attempt to block a new law that would require ride-hailing guarantee a minimum wage floor for drivers, according to The Verge. Lesser known ridesharing service Juno is joining the lawsuit, but Uber is remaining on the sidelines for it. Engadget reached out to both Lyft and Juno for comment and will update this story if we hear back.
In response to the lawsuit, New York Taxi Workers Alliance executive director Bhairavi Desai said, “Shame on Lyft and Juno. These companies are collectively valuated at billions of dollars but claim to be too broke to pay drivers even minimum wage. …Drivers organized too hard to win this victory and there is no way these companies will steal it from our hands.” New York City mayor Bill De Blasio took to Twitter to call the legal action “Unconscionable,” and said the city will “fight every step of the way to get workers the pay they deserve.”
The law the ride-hailing companies are taking issue with would establish a wage floor of $17.22 per hour after expenses for drivers. It was passed in December by New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission and is set to go into effect on February 1st. The law intends to bring wages for contract drivers in line with the city’s $15 minimum wage, with an additional $2.22 tacked on to account for payroll taxes and paid time off. The commission estimates that drivers in New York City currently make about $11.90 per hour after expenses.
New York has been engaged in an ongoing effort to regulate ride-hailing services. Last year, the state recognized three Uber contract drivers as employees of the company, potentially changing the way that drivers can be classified. New York City also made the decision to stop issuing ride-sharing licenses for one year in an attempt to cap the number of contract drivers on the road.