Afternoon Coffee: Doubts over cocoa imports; Uber, Lyft drivers propose California ballot measure; Golden age of supply chain uncertainty

Africa Studio/Adobe Stock

Global companies must focus on the economics of supply chains amid uncertainties such as the U.S.-China trade dispute and Brexit, said the CEO of Barclays bank, according to CNBC. “Whether it’s Brexit or whether it’s the trade challenge between the U.S. and China, the real issue is supply chain,” Jes Staley is quoted as saying at the Barclays Asia Forum. Companies are grappling with the fallout of both events as it impacts the cost of shipping physical goods and service delivery.

U.S. officials go to Ivory Coast to inspect doubts over cocoa imports

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials paid a visit to Ivory Coast recently to probe whether cocoa production there used forced or child labor, to decide whether the U.S. should block cocoa imports. A report in the Washington Post said that last July, two U.S. senators had written to customs officials asking them to issue an order blocking cocoa from Ivory Coast, one of the largest producers, from entering the country unless the importers demonstrated that the supply chain was free of child labor.

Uber, Lyft and Instacart drivers propose California ballot measure…

Drivers for several gig-economy-platform businesses have announced “a statewide ballot measure for the November 2020 ballot,” according to TechCrunch. “Called the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act — funded by Uber, Lyft and DoorDash — the measure aims to ensure drivers and couriers can continue to be independent contractors with flexible work hours.” The measure is reportedly in direct response to the legalization of AB-5, the gig worker bill that will make it harder for the likes of Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other gig economy companies to classify their workers as 1099 independent contractors.

Spend Matters has covered the implications that AB-5 presents for the gig economy and the contingent workforce and services space more broadly. Check out our three-part PRO series, “CA Assembly Bill 5 passes: Is the gig economy doomed?

…as Uber Freight expands to Canada...

Uber Freight, a subsidiary of the ride-sharing service Uber, is expanding into Canada. This is one more step for Uber Freight in the international market. It previously announced a European expansion into Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland and continues to make moves to boost its global presence and operations.

...and, in local news, Uber sues Skokie, Illinois

For all of you in Chicagoland (like us at Spend Matters HQ), this story has implications for the future of ride-sharing in the region. Uber has sued Skokie in response to such cities looking to "either impose ride-share fees or increase existing rates to deal with heightened congestion and lower public transit use, which have been blamed on the growth of ride-hailing," according to the Chicago Tribune.

“Filing a lawsuit against the Village of Skokie sends a clear message to [Chicago] Mayor Lightfoot,” said Bryant Greening, co-founder of the law firm LegalRideshare, as quoted by the Tribune. “The complaint serves as a warning shot that Uber will not stand by as Chicago attempts to impede its ability to dominate local transportation.”

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