Rideshare companies pour millions into PAC ahead of push for Washington ballot initiative

Jan 26, 2022, 2:52 PM | Updated: Jan 27, 2022, 9:03 am

Rideshare companies...

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Rideshare companies have poured over $2 million into a new political action committee, in what appears to be the precursor to a push for a Washington ballot initiative.

Local Uber, Lyft drivers protest low wages as others across country strike

First identified by the Washington Observer, the PAC was registered in November of 2021 as the Washington Coalition for Independent Work (WCIW). So far, it has received contributions from Lyft, Doordash, Instacart, and Uber, totaling roughly $2.09 million.

The bulk of that money comes from a $2 million donation from Lyft on Dec. 31, 2021, while Doordash, Uber, and Instacart have all pledged future contributions of roughly $200,000 each. In terms of expenditures, each company has spent money on consulting firms, communications staff, and campaign materials.

It remains unclear what exactly the proposed ballot initiative will be, with the WCIW’s state Public Disclosure Commission page listing it as “TBD.”

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are currently considering legislation that would provide rideshare employees with paid sick, family, and medical leave, as well as insurance coverage, and a fund for drivers “in resolving disputes related to deactivations.”

Some Seattle rideshare drivers worried Durkan proposal could limit flexibility

The bill would also codify requirements for rideshare companies, including a “zero tolerance” policy for drugs and alcohol, nondiscrimination policies, and a prohibition on drivers with certain moving violations or criminal convictions.

What it does not include is a minimum wage for drivers. Uber and Lyft fought hard against Seattle’s successful bid to establish a $16.39 an hour minimum wage for rideshare drivers in 2020, expressing concerns at the time that they would have to make up for the added wages by limiting the total amount of drivers out on the road at any given time.

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Rideshare companies pour millions into PAC ahead of push for Washington ballot initiative