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TOM PURCELL: The fate of gig workers could turn on ballot question | News



Become an employee with full paid benefits, or remain a mostly independent gig worker? That debate’s raging in California as November’s General Election approaches, and its outcome is likely to affect the entire country.

According to The Washington Post, “Uber, DoorDash and other gig economy companies are bombarding TV airwaves, social media and even their own apps with ads and marketing materials promoting a ballot initiative [Proposition 22] that they say would improve drivers’ financial situations and working conditions but that would also deny them the right to be classified as employees in California.”

Proposition 22 would give gig workers limited benefits and wage and worker protections, but establish them as an independent class of workers – and undo a 2019 California law, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), that “would guarantee drivers access to the minimum wage, employer-provided health care and bargaining rights.”

I’ve long been self-employed, with the exception of some recent cybersecurity consulting contracts in which I was paid as a full-time employee with benefits, but that’s been my choice.

Being fully self-employed is not for the faint of heart. Besides cybersecurity consulting and writing a newspaper column, I have an apartment-rental business. I recently earned a real estate license and am selling properties, too.

I manage my own invoicing and taxes. I know to the penny – once my CPA explains it to me and I drop whatever mug of coffee I’m holding – how high my income taxes are. Few employees are aware of how much they pay in taxes or what their benefits cost their employers – which would be helpful to know before voting for new government policies that will increase both.

I manage my own health-care insurance, which has gotten plenty expensive in recent years for individuals who don’t qualify for subsidies, in part because of government attempts to expand health insurance to everyone.

But, again, I choose to be self-employed. I like the freedom it provides. But it also makes me keenly aware of the unintended consequences of government regulations and policies.

California’s 2019 AB5 law would require Uber, for instance, to hire drivers as full-time employees with health insurance, paid sick leave and other benefits. Benefits are wonderful, but they come at a price.

Uber claims that “if the company were forced to make all drivers across the country employees, for example, it could only support 260,000 full-time roles,” reports The Post. “That compares to 1.2 million active drivers the company was hosting on its app before the coronavirus pandemic.”

Uber also says fares would increase and drivers would be less available and timely – which means you might have to wait a while for your ride home to arrive after a night of enjoying the pub.

What it comes down to is that some politicians believe individuals shouldn’t have the freedom to exchange their skills and services for money from organizations, because organizations take advantage of those individuals. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support AB5, not the watered-down Proposition 22.

Others think that in a free society, individuals should be able to offer their professional talents to anyone willing to pay for them, and government shouldn’t restrict the terms they negotiate. President Trump’s campaign supports that approach and is critical of AB5 (but has not, to my knowledge, supported Proposition 22).

That’s something else to think about when you vote in November’s election.

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Tom Purcell is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist. Send comments to Tom at

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Spies, stake-outs and the gig economy: Meet the Jefferies analyst unmasking dark delivery




When Jefferies’ Giles Thorne signed up to a life of investment banking, delivering Uber Eats orders and sitting in the rain outside grocery startup warehouses were not exactly part of the job description.

The US investment bank equity research analyst and two of his colleagues spent around 100 hours across seven days last month posted in front of warehouses for grocery startups Getir, Gorillas and Weezy, armed with a camping chair, coffee and a clipboard. Their mission? To count the number of orders made at each site and calculate how profitable the dark store model is, as part of their coverage for the likes of listed firms Just Eat and Delivery Hero.

Thorne is uncovering the hidden data behind the business models of on-demand delivery firms and dark store networks — and is setting a new standard for sell-sider innovation in the process.

“Anyone can write sell-side research, just as any postman can carry letters around the back,” said Thorne in an interview with Fintech Files. “But unless you are telling an investor something that they don’t know about something they should care about, then there is no point in you.”

Tech startups such as Gorillas, Weezy and Getir have exploded across London in the last six months, offering rapid grocery delivery in under 20 minutes from warehouses at highly subsidised rates thanks to an influx of venture capital cash.

Though the merits of the gig economy have long been a topic of conversation at the heart of companies like Deliveroo and Uber, little was known about their metrics until the former floated its shares earlier this year.

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Thorne and his colleagues found the work of counting motorbikes dull and monotonous, suffering both sunburn and damp clothes as the English summer stayed true to form. During their most recent stake-out, those who wandered by the analysts’ outposts mostly ignored them, though they were occasionally filmed and one woman accused Thorne of being hired by her ex-husband to spy on her.

The team’s unorthodox approach caused a stir on social media among the investment banking and tech communities alike, which Thorne said he found unsurprising.

“That’s my objective,” he said, describing his process as both “the gold standard” and a “marketing tactic” to outcompete the 20 or 30 rival analysts covering the same stocks elsewhere.

“I’m in a client service industry, trying to get the person at Threadneedle or Fidelity to speak to me on the stocks that I cover rather than my competitor. I’m looking for hooks, full stop,” he added.

Prior to compiling his research, most of the companies Thorne spent time watching or working for had no idea that he had even been there. Though he had signed up to work for Deliveroo and Uber Eats under his real name and work email address in 2019 and 2020, they showed little care for what he might do with the information he learned.

Clear and strict regulations from the Financial Conduct Authority also left no room for ambiguity on Thorne’s activities, meaning he must not misrepresent his intentions (though no one ever asked him).

“I did not feel like [a spy], that was not my intention,” he said. “I felt very self-conscious: I would move around a lot, I would try to take discreet positions on the streets. I just had to keep reminding myself that I’m not breaking any laws. It’s okay to sit on the street — it’s not normal, but it is okay.”

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The advent of MiFID II, a 2018 EU directive that requires brokers to unbundle fees for research, has upped the ante for analysts to prove the value of their work. While some baulked at the prospect, Thorne saw the directive as an exciting opportunity for him to stand out from the crowd.

“As an individual, I sat there in presentations hearing about MiFID turning up and thinking, ‘Oh s–t, I gotta step the game up’,” he said. “But it’s also about sitting within an industry where the value proposition of my sales colleagues, traders and everyone can be equal to the value that the platform as a whole creates.”

Thorne’s eventual conclusion across both Deliveroo and Getir’s business models is that they are highly profitable for the startups themselves, with dark stores leading to an estimated earnings margin of 10-15%.

“What I’ve learned is that this approach really resonates with our clients. It acts as a positive halo for Jefferies as a firm,” Thorne said. “What you get is a limited but unique, relevant and timely perspective — and to my mind, that’s gold dust.”

READ ‘I work from 8am to 2am’: The lockdown life of overworked and underappreciated junior bankers

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Emily Nicolle

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Why This Analyst Sees Huge Upside Potential in Gig Economy Stocks – 24/7 Wall St.




Government-imposed lockdowns crushed the U.S. economy last year, and to a degree some of the fallout is still lingering. This was especially true for the so-called gig economy, as many ride-sharing apps and delivery apps were forced to back off while everything was sorted out. Yet, with the economy making its comeback, the gig economy is kicking into gear too.

Gordon Haskett looked at three major firms within the industry that focus on ride-hailing and delivery. While stocks of each are substantially higher than they were last year, questions remain about where they stand to go from here.

The underlying thesis for these firms seems to be convenience. As more consumers are working from home, delivery services have become increasingly important. While the pandemic put a damper on the ride-hailing trend, this seems to be squarely in the rearview mirror, as safety protocols have been instituted to keep riders and drivers safe.

24/7 Wall St. has taken a close look at the report and picked out some of the highlights that investors can use to make informed choices on these stocks. Also, look out for Uber and Lyft to report earnings later this week.

Note that Gordon Haskett publishes differentiated, independent research to a targeted group of institutional investors. The company provides analysts with intellectual autonomy, sector-specific senior salespeople, infrastructure and support.


DoorDash Inc. (NYSE: DASH) was the first big name on the list. Gordon Haskett initiated coverage with a Buy rating and a $206 price target that implies upside of 18% from the most recent closing price of $174.29.

The analyst goes into further detail, saying that it views DoorDash as more than just a COVID-19 play. In fact, Gordon Haskett sees it as a long-term play on secular change toward convenience and a topline upward revision story in the marking with the potential for adjacent delivery verticals and rapid international expansion.

Monday morning, the stock traded down nearly 2% to $171.31, in a post-IPO range of $110.13 to $256.09. The consensus price target is $175.47. Shares are up 22% year to date, with most of the gain coming in the past quarter.


Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER) has performed the weakest out of the group, with its share price down about 15% year to date, though it is still up roughly 44% from this time last year. Despite this, Uber was initiated with a Buy rating and a $65 price target. That suggests upside of roughly 50% from the most recent closing price of $43.46.

Gordon Haskett views Uber as a company that will further engrain itself in the everyday lives of consumers. Ultimately, this could lead to share gains across both ride shares and delivery, resulting in upward top-line and bottom-line revisions in the years to come. In the near term, Uber offers investors exposure to the reopening trade and defense against a prolonged COVID-19 backdrop in the form of its delivery service. Again, Gordon Haskett is playing on the convenience trade and sees Uber as well positioned to benefit from this structural shift.

Uber stock traded up 1% to $43.97, and it has a consensus price target of $69.11. The stock has a 52-week trading range of $28.48 to $64.05.


Lyft Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) has been the best-performed stock of this group over the past year, and Gordon Haskett sees this ride-hailing firm pumping the breaks. Note that Lyft stock is up nearly 13% year to date, and it is a whopping 88% higher in the past 52 weeks. The analyst started coverage with a Hold rating and a $59 price target, which would be upside of about 7% from the most recent close at $55.32.

The ongoing debate over Lyft has been whether it can compete with much larger rival Uber. Yet, Lyft has proven resilient, along with proving the bears wrong by increasing its share in the U.S. market. However, Gordon Haskett sees Lyft as disadvantaged in the coming quarters relative to Uber, as the bigger, badder firm will be taking back some of this market share. The analyst views this as a function of Lyft’s singular product focus, while Uber is diversifying into delivery, essentially building a “super app” that could drive further share gains.

Lyft shares traded up about 2% to $56.36, in a 52-week range of $21.34 to $68.28. Analysts have a consensus price target of $69.34.

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Major Advancements from this NASDAQ to Meet the Challenges of Employment Needs in Today’s Evolving Gig Economy: ShiftPixy (NASDAQ: PIXY)




  • Next-Gen Mobile Engagement Tech to Help Fulfill Employment Needs. 

  • Great Experience in Worker’s Comp and Compliance Programs.  

  •  Presenting at Upcoming  D.A. Davidson Bison Select Conference. 

  • MIAMI WORKS Initiative to Restore Miami’s Restaurant & Hospitality Industries by Connecting Business with On-Demand Workforce. 

ShiftPixy (NASDAQ:
PIXY) provides a disruptive human capital management platform, revolutionizing employment in the Gig Economy by delivering a next-gen mobile engagement technology to help businesses with shift-based employees navigate regulatory mandates, minimize administrative burdens and better connect with a ready-for-hire workforce. With expertise rooted in management’s nearly 25 years of workers’ compensation and compliance programs experience, PIXY adds a needed layer for addressing compliance and continued demands for equitable employment practices in the growing Gig Economy.

PIXY will be presenting at the D.A. Davidson Bison Select Conference on Wednesday, August 4, 2021. The PIXY virtual presentation will take place at 11:00 am ET and can be accessed via this link: 

On June 23
rd PIXY announced the launch of MIAMI WORKS, a staffing and recruiting campaign designed to help the restaurant and hospitality industry navigate the staffing shortage induced by the pandemic. In collaboration with local universities and community development groups, PIXY planned the first in a series of recruiting events for June 26th to help shift workers easily find job opportunities that offer living wages, a sign-up bonus, and flexible schedules, as well as healthcare, workers’ compensation and 401K benefits.

Following the global pandemic, South Florida is facing a severe staffing shortage, a major challenge for the city that thrives on hospitality and tourism business. MIAMI WORKS will help businesses more easily connect with and onboard willing and eligible workers to get their operations back on track, and effectively meet customer demand. Following the inaugural event, PIXY planned a 60-day marketing effort to connect the registered workforce to open positions in the Miami area across restaurants and other hospitality operators.

On top of the labor shortage impacting the restaurant and hospitality industry, third-party delivery services are facing a threat from some authorities of being forced to reclassify drivers from independent contractors to employees, putting their business model and the restaurants they serve at risk. PIXY can provide a stable platform that offers fair wages and benefits for these delivery workers, and allow restaurants to reduce their reliance on third-party services by ramping up their own recruiting and staffing efforts in order to meet pent up demand as COVID-19 restrictions ease up.

“We’re excited to be working with ShiftPixy and our local colleges and universities to address the latest labor challenges in the wake of COVID-19, and show our continued support of the local restaurant and hospitality industries,” said City of Miami Commissioner and Chairman of the Miami DDA Manolo Reyes. “Through the upcoming job fair, and other efforts to connect workers with businesses in these sectors, we’re helping our businesses solve their current staffing issues by promoting the economic, social and cultural health of downtown Miami, and leading the city through its post-pandemic recovery.”

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with ShiftPixy and Miami DDA to create a new avenue for shift workers to effectively identify opportunities at such an important time for the hospitality industry,” said Beatriz Gonzalez of Miami Dade College. “MIAMI WORKS and ShiftPixy are aligned with our mission to support the Miami community, and we encourage participation in ShiftPixy’s upcoming job fair at MDC’s Wolfson Campus.”

In addition to collaborating with Miami DDA, MIAMI WORKS is the embodiment of the local efforts PIXY has made alongside FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality, the company’s Ghost Kitchen Incubator program, FIU Embrace, and others to invigorate the Miami hospitality industry by starting with the most important component – the workforce.

For more information on ShiftPixy (NASDAQ: PIXY) visit: https:www// 


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Company Name: SHIFTPIXY, INC
Contact Person: CFO: Domonic J. Carney
Email: Send Email
Phone: +1 888 798-9100
Address:501 BRICKELL KEY DR. STE 300
State: Florida, 33131
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