First, Uber Technologies wanted to be your chauffeur. Then, it wanted to deliver takeout. Now, the tech company is launching a temporary labor service in Chicago.
Uber unveiled its Uber Works app last week. It is a service that matches workers to available shifts in a variety of workplaces, including food manufacturing plants, catering businesses and restaurants. Unlike a typical temp agency, which connects workers to businesses, Uber Works automates the process and gives users the ability to choose what shifts they want to cover. The service is only available to Chicago-area residents.
Uber is partnering with TrueBlue, a Tacoma, Wash.-based staffing agency, that will employ, pay and provide benefits to the shift workers. Uber Works’ employees are hourly.
The firm has been testing the platform for more than a year in Chicago.
Andrey Liscovich, CEO of Uber Works, said that delving into the temporary labor market required the tech company to find a way to streamline the process for workers to access jobs.
“We are passionate about this because it affects a lot of people,” Liscovich said. “In Chicago, it’s an acute problem, especially for folks on the South Side who might find it hard to access transportation. We are trying to leverage the platform to get people … to access jobs instead of waiting for an agency.”
The company declined to say how many workers the platform already has or how many businesses have joined Uber Works.
The Uber Works app became available last week for Chicago-area residents. Users must go through a screening and background check by Uber and TrueBlue. During the screening process, Liscovich said workers will be asked for certifications relevant to jobs they are applying for, but the app, and applications for positions that require no special training, can be accessed by anyone.
Workers can find information about shifts through the app, including how much the job pays, the location, any skills needed and the attire required. The app will also function as a way for workers to clock in and out of their shifts.
Liscovich said workers can be paid within 48 hours of completing their shifts.
“Once hours are confirmed (by the business), you will be getting paid as soon as possible,” Liscovich said.
Uber’s new temporary labor service puts it in competition with another Chicago company. Shiftgig, an on-demand staffing platform, operates in 13 cities.
Uber’s announcement comes as it continues to expand its footprint in the city. Last month, Uber said it was hiring 2,000 employees in three years to help grow the headquarters for Uber Freight, another service that connects truck drivers with shippers, at The Old Post Office. Uber Works will be headquartered in Chicago as well.