With 41 states staying at home under government orders, the transportation industry has taken a huge hit—including ride-share app Uber’s legion of 3.9 million drivers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck and have seen their sole source of income dwindle during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now Uber is trying to help. On Monday it launched on its app a new section that lists various job openings, which drivers located in the United States can access during the ride-share slump. The section, called the Work Hub, connects drivers with delivery requests through Uber Eats, which has seen a jump in demand since mid-March; Uber Works, a platform for shift work such as food production, warehouse, and customer service gigs in Chicago, Dallas, and Miami; and Uber Freight, where carriers get paid for every load they haul.
The Work Hub will also feature job openings at businesses outside of Uber: As Reuters reports, Uber said it will post opportunities from more than a dozen companies, including McDonald’s, FedEx, United Parcel Service, PepsiCo, Hertz, Walgreens, and national grocery stores. Uber will not receive commissions from companies whose jobs it lists, said a spokesperson for the app.
In a blog post, Uber said it’s partnering with companies including Domino’s, Shipt, and CareGuide to hire Uber drivers, and it also told Reuters that it will reach out to its 240,000-plus drivers who hold commercial licenses, to put them in touch with logistics companies for potential employment.
Uber drivers told Reuters that their income has dropped by as much as 80% during the pandemic, and many said they stopped driving altogether for fear of getting infected.
Uber itself has seen a 60% to 70% drop in demand in big cities like Seattle, San Francisco, and New York, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in March. That month, he wrote to President Trump asking for independent contractors—such as Uber drivers—to be included in Congress’s coronavirus stimulus package.
A statement on the company’s website said that although the Work Hub is only available in the U.S., it’s part of a “global effort to connect drivers with new work opportunities.”