By Tina Bellon
(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc <UBER.N> said on Monday its app will list job openings in the delivery, food production and grocery industry that its U.S. drivers can access during 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 https://www.uber.com/blog/work-hub.
Uber also said it would reach out to the more than 240,000 of its registered drivers holding commercial licenses 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 Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement the company will keep expanding economic opportunities in 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 United States, 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 Corp <MCD.N>, FedEx Corp <FDX.N>, United Parcel Service Inc <UPS.N>, Pepsico Inc <PEP.O>, Hertz Global Holdings Inc <HTZ.N>, drug store and pharmacy chain Walgreens <WBA.O> and U.S. grocery stores.
The company said it has also partnered with Domino’s Pizza Inc <DPZ.N>, Target Corp’s <TGT.N> delivery service Shipt and online care matching site CareGuide to hire Uber drivers.
An Uber spokesman on Monday said the company was not receiving paid commissions from companies whose jobs it lists.
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 program, a platform 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 United States shut down to combat the spread of the highly infectious virus.
Drivers talking to Reuters said their income has 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 U.S. stimulus bill to receive unemployment pay they are normally not entitled to, they run into difficulty claiming those benefits.
(Reporting by Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and David Gregorio)