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Gig Workers Deserve Paid Coronavirus Sick Leave, Says Councilman

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BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — Just staying home during the coronavirus outbreak isn’t much of an option for thousands of gig workers in New York City, argued a letter to the heads of Uber, Lyft, Seamless and other popular rideshare and delivery companies.

Those workers often can’t afford to stay home if they or someone in their family is sick, wrote Councilman Brad Lander on Monday.

Not only that, as contract employees they lack certain protections full-time workers enjoy, Lander wrote.

“People who drive Ubers, deliver Seamless orders, shop for Instacart customers, or clean homes through Handy lack paid sick leave and employer-sponsored health insurance,” Lander said in a statement. “As a result, they face an increased risk of contracting and spreading the virus.”

Uber, Lyft, Doordash, GrubHub, Instacart, Postmates, and Handy need to take steps to protect those workers and the wider public, Lander wrote.

Keep up with news in Park Slope by subscribing to Park Slope Patch to receive daily newsletters and breaking news alerts.

Lander, who represents Park Slope, addressed the letter to those companies’ CEOs, urging them to provide paid sick leave and a laundry list of other steps.

Those include:

  • Suspending the practice of penalizing workers for missing scheduled blocks of work,
    ending shifts early or rejecting jobs.
  • Paying workers their average weekly income if they are prevented from working because public health authorities recommended a temporary quarantine from coronavirus exposure that happened while working.
  • Encouraging workers to leave deliveries at the door, not face-to-face and disabling any ratings systems that penalize workers for doing so.
  • Agreeing to let workers collect unemployment benefits if they can’t work because of the coronavirus.
  • Not permanently deactivating workers who happen to contract coronavirus.

The letter can be read here.



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California ballot measure opposing AB 5 for gig economy drivers is now Proposition 22

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July 08, 2020

The ballot measure asking California voters to allow ride-sharing and delivery gig economy drivers to remain independent contractors now has a name for the November ballot: It will be Proposition 22.

Human cloud firms such as Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER), Lyft Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) and others are backing the measure. They took up the charge after the California legislature approved AB 5, a law that gets tough on independent contractor misclassification. California’s Attorney General has already gone to court to require the companies to stop classifying their drivers as independent contractors under AB 5.

California’s Secretary of State formally assigned the number on July 1. It had already been certified for the ballot after backers said they gathered more than 1 million signatures of state voters asking for the measure to be added to the ballot.

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How a Biden Adviser Got a Gig With Uber

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To understand how strategic consultancies work, one might look at the recent career of Jake Sullivan, a former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. As campaigning accelerates, Sullivan has claimed a spot in Biden’s inner circle. He is also a partner at one of the biggest and most opaque global consultancies.

After working as a strategist on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, Sullivan joined the London and New York–based Macro Advisory Partners in January 2017. Run by former British spy chiefs, Macro Advisory Partners has about 30 full-time staff and reported $37 million in revenue last year.

Macro Advisory Partners uses Sullivan’s involvement as a selling point in offering “trusted counsel in a turbulent world,” with his face atop the roster on their website’s landing page. But when Sullivan publishes a magazine article about U.S. foreign policy or delivers university lectures, he almost always omits this job from his biography.

Read: How Biden’s Foreign-Policy Team Got Rich

As a partner, his role runs deep. Though Macro Advisory Partners doesn’t disclose a client list, it would include mining companies in developing countries, sovereign wealth funds, and the rideshare company Uber.

Earlier this year, Sullivan spent several months representing Uber on the other side of the table from labor unions. He was trying to work out an alternative to California’s Assembly Bill 5 legislation, which extended new protections to gig workers, like minimum wage and unemployment. As the law went into effect in January, the $61 billion company negotiated with the SEIU and the Teamsters behind the scenes to create a carve-out that would have let Uber avoid giving benefits to contractors. Sullivan and Macro Advisory Partners declined to comment. A source familiar with the engagement told the Prospect that Sullivan’s work for Uber ended when talks failed to reach an agreement.

Maybe even more valuable to Macro Advisory Partners, Sullivan also provides forecasting services for corporations. For example, he used knowledge he acquired from negotiating the Iran deal in the Obama administration to help companies profit from the opening of the Iranian economy.

Information is power, and information about the future is exponential power. What corporate clients most want to know is what may happen in the next U.S. administration. “We’ve been building this team systematically,” said David Claydon, who served as the co-CEO of Macro Advisory Partners until June. “If we’re in a post-Trump world after November, businesses are going to be spending enormous amounts of money and markets are going to be transformed.”

The campaign told me that strategic consultants who are also Biden advisers don’t share insider information with clients. But even those in the corporate world are skeptical about such a firewall. “This is a step up from the military-industrial complex,” said a source familiar with Macro Advisory Partners’ work. “It’s the information-industrial complex.”

This spring, Jake Sullivan has been busy working as Biden’s policy gatekeeper. He manages the vice president’s working groups and has been directing hundreds of experts who develop Biden’s policy ideas.

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Some believe his work for corporations and foreign governments precludes him from shaping the policy platform of a Biden presidency. “Jake Sullivan’s work at Macro Advisory Partners should be disqualifying from service in a Democratic administration,” said an adviser to the Biden campaign, who declined to be identified for fear of retribution. “We don’t need a tool of hedge funds and mining companies in the White House.”

The campaign declined to answer detailed questions for this story. A spokesperson said Sullivan stopped taking a paycheck from Macro Advisory Partners after his appointment to the Biden team was announced, but wouldn’t specify further.

This week, days after the Prospect submitted questions to Sullivan and the campaign, Macro Advisory Partners removed Sullivan from its website.



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Innovation In eCommerce, Gig Retailing And Malls

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The vicious cycle of physical retail is meeting the virtuous cycle of digital, at a time when companies are aiming to chart a course toward a future that is without precedent. In retail, merchants need to enter a new kind of gig economy that can be called “gig retailing.” And in real estate, developers are turning part of a shopping center near Seattle into an apartment complex, as the future of malls is debated in boardrooms and decided by foot traffic. All this, Today in Data.

Data:         

2019: Launch year of Empathy Wines, which was recently purchased by Constellation Brands.

300: Number of units of Avalon Alderwood Place, to be located near Seattle.

90%: Share of Constellation Brands’ sales that come from physical establishments today.

50%: Minimum portion of future sales that Nike CEO John Donahoe plans to drive through digital channels.

42%: Share of U.S. consumers who have transitioned to digital channels to engage in activities more often than pre-pandemic.



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