Uber lists job openings to help stranded gig workers
Crisis exposes the vulnerability of gig workers hired as independent contractors
New York — Uber Technologies said on Monday its app will list job openings in the delivery, food production and grocery industry that can be accessed by its US drivers who have been hit by a slump in ride-hailing demand due to the coronavirus.
Beginning on Monday, drivers can find job listings of other companies in a new section of their app, Uber said in a blog post.
Uber also said it would reach out to the more than 240,000 of its registered drivers holding a commercial permit to connect them to logistics companies for employment and contract opportunities.
It also encouraged drivers to sign up for its Uber Eats food delivery service, saying restaurant orders have seen a significant increase since mid-March.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement the company will continue to expand economic opportunities in the coming months by using technology to create fast and flexible access to work.
The company said that while the new offer was so far limited to the US, it was part of a global effort, but did not provide further details.
Uber said it would post openings by more than a dozen companies, including McDonald's, FedEx, United Parcel Service, PepsiCo, Hertz Global Holdings, drugstore and pharmacy chain Walgreens and US grocery stores.
The company said it has also partnered with Domino's Pizza, Target's delivery service Shipt and online care matching site CareGuide to hire Uber drivers.
An Uber spokesperson did not say whether the company was receiving any monetary benefits from connecting drivers to those companies.
Drivers in Chicago, Dallas and Miami would also be connected to work in food production, warehouse and customer services through the company's Uber Works platform, which was launched in October to help companies fill staffing gaps during peak demand with temporary workers.
Ride-hailing has suffered a near-total collapse as large parts of the US shut down to combat the spread of the highly infectious virus.
Drivers said their income had dropped by as much as 80% and many said they had stopped driving altogether over fears of getting infected.
The crisis has also exposed the vulnerability of gig workers hired as independent contractors. While on-demand workers were included in a recent US stimulus bill to receive unemployment pay they are normally not entitled to, they run into difficulty claiming those benefits.