The ride hailing companies Juno and Lyft are suing New York City to block a new minimum wage law for app-based drivers that was set to go into effect on Friday.
Both companies filed separate lawsuits in New York State court on Wednesday to halt a minimum payment law they say is arbitrary and capricious.
Under the new law signed by the mayor last month, drivers would get an hourly wage of $17.22 after expenses.
The majority of app based drivers don't make $15 an hour now.
In its filing, Juno argues it already pays drivers more than the other companies and charges less commission.
Lyft argues it opposes the way the Taxi and Limousine Commission is implementing the rule. By using utilization rates, Lyft says the rule favors Uber, the largest of the ride hailing companies.
A Lyft spokesperson said it's not against the idea of a minimum wage. "Our lawsuit does not target the law passed by City Council, but instead addresses the specific way the TLC plans to implement the rules, which would advantage Uber in New York City at the expense of drivers and smaller players such as Lyft," the spokesperson said in a statement. "It’s no secret that Uber has tried to put us out of business in the past. They’ve failed repeatedly, and the TLC should not assist them in their efforts.”
Uber is not participating in the lawsuit and didn't comment on it.
“The idea that this lawsuit is about anything other than avoiding paying drivers a fair wage is laughable,” Jim Conigliaro, Jr. with the Independent Drivers Guild wrote in a statement.
The city Law Department has vowed to fight Lyft and Juno in court. “The rules ensure minimum income protections, are fair and legal, and we'll vigorously defend them in court,” a spokesman for the city’s Law Department wrote.
"Shame on Lyft and Juno. These companies are collectively valuated at billions of dollars but claim to be too broke to pay drivers even minimum wage," Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance Bhairavi Desai, wrote in a statement. "These titans of the gig economy have always pushed for policies that leave workers in poverty and debt. They misclassify drivers as independent contractors to strip workers of the most basic state and federal labor rights. Then they spend millions fighting for exemptions to the few local regulations that do exist."