- Uber announced Thursday the launch of Uber Works, a platform that connects workers with businesses that need to fill available shifts for positions across industries, according to a company blog post. The service will begin in Chicago.
- Uber Work app users can get detailed information about any shifts they’re interested in, including pay, location, skills and required attire. The app also allows users to clock in and out and record breaks.
- Uber’s staffing agency partner TrueBlue will handle payments and worker benefits, while Uber itself will screen employees, according to the Chicago Sun-Times,
The company claims this new platform will provide workers with more clarity about what shifts are both relevant and available for them. Uber also says the tech-driven service will allow people to connect to work faster. The latter feature could help restaurant operators during peak times if an employee is a no-show.
The new app could also give workers more control over their gig by offering pay information, feedback opportunities and more. Also, through Uber’s partnership with TrueBlue, Uber ensures timely payments to workers.
Reducing these types of pain points is a big deal in the delivery space, where labor challenges are abundant. DoorDash, for example, recently came under fire for using tips given to delivery workers through the app to subsidize their base pay, while Uber paid $1.3 million to a class of workers claiming misclassification.
Delivery companies are trying to rectify some of these issues by offering more benefits to their employees. Postmates recently added benefits that include free healthcare options, free access to online college courses and professional certifications and occupational accident insurance. Uber Works also includes “skill up-leveling” opportunities with partnerships with ASU for worker access to online classes and other Chicago organizations to provide skills training.
However, these moves may not be enough for the delivery business model to remain as it is now. Just last month, California passed an independent contractor bill aimed to reverse labor issues by requiring companies like Uber and Grubhub to treat gig workers as employees versus contractors. Uber opposes the bill, but its app may not be enough to please lawmakers, especially since some questions linger about its actual benefits for workers. As TechCrunch points out, for example, the app matches employers to workers but also tracks their work hours. So, workers who aren’t as productive could potentially not get matched.
Still, it’s a start. And it could benefit restaurant operators more than either Uber or gig workers. The platform may help restaurants meet delivery demands during peak times, a major challenge right now in the tightest labor market in 50 years. It should also provide a more reliable workforce as the turnover rate remains high in the industry.