Home Part of States Newsroom
Uber closes driver resource center in Minneapolis despite delay to minimum pay ordinance


Uber closes driver resource center in Minneapolis despite delay to minimum pay ordinance

Apr 16, 2024 | 11:32 am ET
By Max Nesterak
Uber closes driver resource center in Minneapolis despite delay to minimum pay ordinance
Uber shuttered its south Minneapolis Greenlight Hub, that provided in-person support to drivers, on April 15, 2024. Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.

Uber closed its driver resource center in south Minneapolis on Monday, with the office’s five workers having already accepted severance packages, according to a company spokesman.

Uber announced last month it would close the “Greenlight Hub” — which provided drivers with in-person assistance submitting documents, comleting vehicle inspections and dealing with other issues — as it prepared to leave the Twin Cities metro over new minimum pay rates passed by the Minneapolis City Council.

The council voted last week to delay implementation of that ordinance until July 1, and both Uber and Lyft said they will continue operating until the new rates are enacted.

Uber spokesman Josh Gold said the company does not have plans to reopen the office in the “immediate future,” but their lease extends through January.

There are other organizations that also provide support for drivers, and state lawmakers may fund a nonprofit to help drivers as part of a bill setting minimum pay rates.

Uber contracts with the Somali Community Resettlement Services to provide assistance to drivers, many of whom are East African immigrants. The company declined to disclose the cost of the contract.

In January, Lyft announced it was contracting with the Minnesota Uber/Lyft Drivers Association — the group that has led the charge to set minimum pay rates for drivers — to provide similar services to drivers like translation, onboarding support and help with support tickets and deactivation appeals.

“MULDA provides an important voice for its members and this collaboration is an opportunity for us to work on different issues facing the driver community. Lyft is excited to be moving forward with MULDA,” Brent Kent, Lyft Public Policy Manager Director, said in a statement at the time.

On Tuesday, however, MULDA President Eid Ali said there is no contract between Lyft and his organization. Lyft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

MULDA currently provides drivers with support from its office in Bloomington at 1701 American Blvd E Suite 16.

A state task force on Uber and Lyft driver compensation recommended to the Legislature last year that a driver resource center be funded to provide assistance to drivers, although a funding source — such as an additional fee to riders — was not agreed upon.

Ali proposed that the task force recommend that his organization be given preference to run that driver resource center.

The task force didn’t ultimately recommend that MULDA be given preference, but it did agree a driver resource center should be a nonprofit organization with experience providing culturally competent driver representation services.

It’s unclear if Uber would bring back a driver resource center, should state lawmakers reach a deal that funds a nonprofit organization. Gold, the Uber spokesman, noted that in New York City the company has two offices and contracts with a third party support group.