Uber has a new app that matches gig economy workers with businesses

uber ceo dara khosrowshahi.JPGDara Khosrowshahi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Uber Technologies, speaks with the media in New Delhi, India, February 22, 2018.Saumya Khandelwal/Reuters

  • Uber is set to launch Uber Works on Friday, an app that connects gig workers with temporary jobs across a range of industries.
  • Initially, Uber Works will be confined to Chicago, with Uber stating on its website that it "has plans to expand to more areas soon."
  • Uber is the biggest pioneer of gig economy work, since its core ride-hailing app relies on millions of drivers who are classified as contractors and not employees.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Uber is continuing to diversify beyond ride-hailing with the launch of a new app that matches gig workers with temporary work offered by businesses.

The project, called 'Uber Works,' is set to launch in Chicago on Friday. The firm has quietly worked on the project for the past year in the Windy City.

In a blog post on its website, Uber explained that it has partnered with local businesses in Chicago to offer would-be workers roles in six job categories: back-of-house, front-of-house, warehouse, cleaning, customer service and general labor. Jobs taken might include bartending, assembly-line work, or prep cooking.

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Uber also explained the rationale behind Uber Works, stating that "a new, technology-first approach can provide faster and easier means for people to get work, while offering greater insight into the many opportunities for work that are out there-improving the experience for workers and businesses alike."

Chicago SkylinePedro Lastra/Unsplash

Uber Works is far from the first online platform to match gig workers with temporary work. Platforms such as Fiverr, TaskRabbit and Mechanical Turk provide comparable services, with the latter owned by Amazon and geared towards jobs involving s0-called 'human intelligence tasks.'

Uber is perhaps the biggest pioneer of the concept of gig economy work, since its core ride-hailing app relies on millions of drivers who are classified as independent contractors rather than full employees. That classification means Uber doesn't have to pay drivers for sick leave or holiday time, and is being contested by drivers around the world.

Though Uber Works is currently confined to Chicago, Uber's website states that the company has 'plans to expand to more areas soon,' without specifying any locations.

Its launch comes amid a challenging year for Uber, notably its disappointing IPO in May. The firm has warned that it might never be profitable, and said it would cause major damage to its business if drivers had be classified as employees.

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