This Week In Rideshare: Rules, Booths, and Minnesota.

4 min readMar 15, 2024

Gig workers face new rules, Amazon reaches Zen and Uber leaves Minnesota. LegalRideshare breaks it down.



New rules have just taken place. The Dispatch reported:

A new Biden administration rule that changes the criteria for determining who is considered an independent contractor under the Federal Labor Standards Act went into effect Monday, potentially redefining “gig work” as we know it. Advocates of the new rule say it will expand the benefits of full employment — federal minimum wage, unemployment insurance, overtime, and Social Security benefits — to millions of independent contractors, particularly those who are “misclassified” as such. Opponents, however, worry the change will have a chilling effect on hiring contractors, undermining the independent contracting model and forcing genuine contract workers out of the market.

Though estimates for how many people engage in contract-based and independent work can vary widely, workforce surveys suggest that at least 25 percent of U.S. workers engage in some form of gig work — as independent contractors, freelancers, or through other non-standard work arrangements — and that roughly 10 percent of the workforce rely exclusively on gig work as their primary source of income


Stressed working for Amazon? Just think happy thoughts. NY Post adds:

Amazon has sought to improve the morale of its stressed-out warehouse workers and reduce injuries by setting up so-called “ZenBooths” — interactive kiosks that are billed as “mindful practice rooms,” according to reports.

A warehouse employee at the Seattle-based e-tailing giant founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos leaked a screenshot of a meditation and wellness guide from the company that encourages workers to “close your eyes and think about something that makes you happy.”

The screenshot — which also shows a timer at the top right corner of the screen, saying “Repeat until timer ends” and showing 10 seconds left — was leaked by a worker at one of the company’s fulfillment centers, where pay was recently increased to between $17 and $28 an hour.

But the company deleted a promotional video announcing the rollout of the booths after it elicited scathing reaction on social media, where critics noted that Amazon has been accused of subjecting employees to poor workplace conditions and heavy workloads.


After a historic win for drivers, Uber announced it’s leaving the city. Star Tribune reported:

Rideshare giants Uber and Lyft said they will leave Minneapolis on May 1 after the City Council voted Thursday to enact a pay raise for drivers.

The council voted 10 to 3 to override Mayor Jacob Frey's veto of the ordinance, which sets drivers' minimum pay for rides in the city starting May 1.

Uber and Lyft are Minneapolis’ only licensed rideshare companies, although several entities — both local startups and existing companies — have said they would be eager to fill the void. None have formally applied for a license, and it’s unclear if any could scale up operations in a matter of weeks.

On Thursday, Uber competitor Empower announced it could do so — and would — before May 1. That could open a new legal fight; Empower’s business model is different, and CEO Joshua Sear told the Star Tribune he doesn’t believe the company needs any special licensing. However, in December, Washington, D.C., accused Empower of operating illegally there, according to local media reports. The irony: A decade ago, Uber burst into many markets, including the Twin Cities, illegally before cities created a licensing regimen.

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