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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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ALMBC launches music industry COVID-19 gig dashboard

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ALMBC launches music industry COVID-19 gig dashboard

The Zoo, Brisbane / by stxdio

The Australian Live Music Business Council is helping its members negotiate COVID-19 restrictions for businesses with a new online tool.

The National Gig Ready Dashboard is available to the ALMBC’s 488 Aussie members, comprising small to medium-sized businesses around the country.

With restrictions around how to operate in the era of coronavirus seemingly in a constant state of flux, members will now be able to access up-to-date information to ensure COVID-safe compliance in any state or territory,

From current restrictions and physical distancing requirements through to the service of alcohol and even whether patrons can dance, this new tool is ready to help businesses at any stage of reopening.

There are plenty of helpful links at hand too, ready to take members to relevant state government resources.

“As the country opens back up to live music, creating tour routes and planning shows that will be COVID compliant and having advice that is up to date for every corner of the country will be essential to ensure we can take advantage of opportunities for artists, businesses and audiences,” ALMBC interim chair Stephen Wade said.

The dashboard is currently available to any small to medium-sized business in the industry, with the annual feel to join the ALMBC currently waived until January, 2021.

“Getting Australian music culture back on track is essential and we’re pleased that the ALMBC is already having real and meaningful impacts for our members,” Wade added.

The ALMBC aims to act on behalf of the ‘backstage’ voices in the music industry. Members include agents, venues and small promoters through to ticketing companies, poster companies, media, publicists, food vendors, security, music technicians, crew and many more.

Pixie Weyand, owner of Brisbane venue The Zoo and ALMBC working group member, said the past few months have been confusing for many venues.

“As a music venue, the last few months have been not just stressful, but really confusing and that’s just in one state,” she said.

“It’s really important for venues that are struggling to stay afloat that the rules are clear and easy to navigate and it’s been great that we can come together as a sector not just for support, but for information sharing.”

“Artists and bookers can now create national plans with the eight sets of rules they are working under all in one place.”

The ALMBC directly represents 28,000 employees at 488 businesses, having only just formed in July, 2020. The ALM

Head to the ALMBC website to join the ALMBC and or access the dashboard here.



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Freelance, Food Lead Gig Economy Apps Ranking

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Of the seismic workforce changes that have reshaped the economy in recent years, gig work is perhaps the most meaningful. As successive disasters and economic collapses converge with digital collaboration, an entirely new breed of part-timers has emerged around gig apps.

PYMNTS’ latest Provider Ranking of Gig Economy Apps reveals the power players and those jockeying for chart position as the gig economy expands substantially post-pandemic.

The Top 5

DoorDash takes the No. 1 spot in the latest rankings on the strength of several creative COVID-era partnerships and new concepts like the DashMart mobile convenience store. At No. 2 this month is gig titan Uber Driver whose wider platform applications are proving a strength as ridesharing remains depressed. Taking the No. 3 spot is personalized grocery delivery service Instacart, followed at No. 4 by Fiverr, an online marketplace for freelance services. Rounding out this month’s Top 5 at No. 5 is Australian crowdsourcing marketplace web service Freelancer.

The Top 10

Hourly worker staffing app Snagajob snagged the No. 6 spot on the latest Provider Ranking of Gig Economy Apps, with Lyft Driver picking up the No. 7 chart position, followed by freelance marketplace Upwork at No. 8., pet car services app Rover at No. 9, and mobile order-ahead aggregator GrubHub making the cut for gig work apps by grabbing the No. 10 spot.

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New PYMNTS Report: The CFO’s Guide To Digitizing B2B Payments – August 2020 

The CFO’s Guide To Digitizing B2B Payments, a PYMNTS and Comdata collaboration, examines how companies are updating their AP approaches to protect their cash flows, support their vendors and enable their financial departments to operate remotely.



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Gig Worker Attacks a Big Labor Ploy – InsideSources

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Uber has announced its intention to merge with Postmates, giving the ride-hailing and restaurant-delivery networking company a foothold in the growing grocery-delivery market.

Since the outbreak of pandemic COVID-19, grocery delivery has surged as travel has collapsed, so Uber saw diversification as its path to survival.

Also seeing diversification as a path to survival is Big Labor, which has, through worker centers like Working Washington — a front group for Big Labor principally funded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its local affiliates — opened an all-out offensive against the so-called “gig economy.”

Part of that economy are companies like Uber, Postmates, DoorDash, and GrubHub (to name only a few) that rely on independent contractors to deliver food from restaurants and items from stores to customers; these workers set their own schedules, contribute their own capital, and direct their own work, unlike most conventional employees.

Big Labor sees this as  a problem and are engaging in a campaign to undermine the thriving gig economy before it gets any larger.

Under federal law, unions of independent contractors cannot force contracting companies to engage in monopoly collective bargaining. So, as COVID-based restrictions on normal human life and the general consumer benefits of application-based services create growth in the sector, labor unions are going all-out to benefit themselves at the expense of consumers, independent workers, and the companies that support those workers and consumers.

Approach one is a frontal assault, most notably via legislation that characterizes independent contracting workers as true employees.

First enacted through California’s controversial Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), , this type of legislation is poised to all-but-eliminate freelance writing and content creation and owner-operator trucking in addition to the targeted “gig economy” application-based services.

At the national level, union-backed House Democrats passed the PRO Act, legislation that would make several Big Labor-empowering changes to employment law, perhaps foremost among them a nationwide expansion of California’s “classification” law under AB5.

The second approach is the old-fashioned corporate campaign, the SEIU-perfected tactic of harassing a large business into not opposing unionization on the threat of brand damage.

Leading the charge is Working Washington, the SEIU-funded activist “worker center” that fronts campaigns for the union in Washington State. Working Washington has led campaigns against DoorDash and Postmates; for good measure, the Postmates campaign also targeted Chipotle, an SEIU unionization target.

For now, the stated goals are health and safety regulations and higher guaranteed pay, but the SEIU’s ties to Working Washington indicate a clear intention to bring independent contractor delivery workers into the union as dues-paying members.

A majority of Working Washington’s board are current or former SEIU officials; Working Washington and SEIU 775NW, the union’s militant Seattle-area local, reportedly share office space.

And while adding new union members might be SEIU and Working Washington’s ultimate goal, killing the application-based model — a model that has helped keep restaurants afloat and paying workers and helped consumers tolerate otherwise-intolerable “social distancing” diktats — would also serve to increase union power.

If Instacart goes bust because it cannot operate under Big Labor’s employment model, well, then the unionized supermarkets’ in-house delivery services will prosper.

The goal of the attack on application-based services is simple: Big Labor wins; workers and consumers lose.

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