It was a triumphant Wednesday evening in El Monte, as MWA drivers packed the city council chambers to testify about our mistreatment at the hands of Uber and Lyft and ask the city council to move toward a $30 an hour living wage for drivers in El Monte.

When they heard about the challenges the we’re facing and the ways that Uber and Lyft exploit not just drivers, but also the public resources that we all share, El Monte City Council voted to instruct city officials to draft an ordinance establishing a $30 an hour wage for drivers in El Monte!

The $30 an hour is meant to provide drivers with a $15 an hour living wage and $15 an hour for vehicle expenses.

City officials will spend the next 120 days developing the ordinance, and will take driver utilization rates, waiting times, enforcement methods, and models developed by other cities into consideration.

“What happens to us as drivers also affects this community. If you raise wages to $30 an hour, you will be helping families like my own,” El Monte resident and rideshare driver Yadira Orozco said in Spanish during public comment.

Prior to the council meeting, more than 50 drivers held a rally outside city hall, sharing their stories and raising awareness of our demands.

“We’re not asking for the moon,” driver Linda Valdivia said. “All we’re asking for is enough money to live on and enough money to cover expenses. As it stands, we bring all of the capital to Uber and Lyft and they take home the profit.”

With the vote, El Monte becomes the first city in the United States to consider a $30 an hour rate for rideshare drivers. This is a huge step forward in the fight for drivers rights and against gig company exploitation.

We hope that other cities will follow the courageous example set by El Monte and its mayor André Quintero.

While we celebrate this victory, we’re not taking our eyes off the prize. AB5 continues to move closer to the governor’s desk and we’ll be ramping up our efforts in coming weeks to ensure not only that it passes, but that we win a path to a union.

With El Monte, and hopefully more cities, behind us, we’re only getting stronger. When we fight, we win!

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