We’re living in the most disruptive time for our workers since the Industrial Revolution. Our economy is changing, and long-term jobs are giving way to gig work. In this rapidly changing economy, we need to make sure our hard-fought worker protections are available for gig workers. That includes Uber and Lyft drivers, who work long hours to help all of us get where we need to go.
As Seattle grows, we also need to make sure our communities can afford to live near where they work, and everyone, regardless of income or ability level, has access to high-quality transit.
That’s why earlier today I announced my “Fare Share” plan to invest in workers, housing near transit, and transit and transportation projects.
Our Fare Share plan will:
- Mandate Seattle’s minimum wage, plus benefits and expenses, for Uber and Lyft drivers, beginning July 1, 2020;
- Invest in landmark worker protections, including a first-in-the-nation Driver Resolution Center;
- Invest in transit and fully fund the Center City Connector streetcar; and
- Support more than 500 new affordable homes near transit for people earning between $15 and $25 per hour.
The City of Seattle wants to create a model to ensure we’re appropriately compensating drivers for the hours they truly work, the expenses they are shouldering, and the benefits they deserve, even if they are currently classified as independent contractors.
Seattle is a national leader in ensuring our workers are treated fairly and can build a better life for themselves and their loved ones. From the Fight for $15 to our Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, we’ve always been the city that puts our workers before any company’s bottom line.
We also know that more and more workers like Seattle’s nurse assistants, construction workers, and preschool teachers can’t afford to live close to their jobs. And that’s why we need to continue to invest in more affordable housing as quickly as possible across Seattle.
There’s no doubt that the explosive growth of companies like Lyft and Uber has helped many people, and has helped create opportunity for many communities throughout our region.
But the fact remains that some Uber and Lyft drivers are not making minimum wage, while billion dollar companies are profiting off of using the City’s public resources, like the right of way and curb space. Last year alone, there were more than 24 million Uber and Lyft rides in our City, half of which started or ended downtown. That has had an impact on congestion, and has crowded our buses and curbs.
That’s why we need to think big and make important investments in transit like this one to ensure we keep transit moving in downtown Seattle, manage traffic, and achieve our climate goals.
This overall plan is about ensuring Seattle builds off our legacy of fighting for working families. And it’s about growing into the city we want to be.
Your feedback is critical to the success of this project. As always, please continue to write me at Jenny.Durkan@seattle.gov, reach out via Twitter and Facebook, and stay up-to-date on the work we’re doing for the people of Seattle on my blog.