Oct 19, 2018

Uber tests new on-demand labor service

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Uber drivers could soon do more than shuttle passengers or food orders in their cars. The company is quietly testing a new service, Uber Works, for on-demand labor for businesses, according to the Financial Times.

The bottom line: After driving and food delivery, Uber wants to see if it can harness its massive labor pool for other purposes. It could also burnish its image with new lines of business as it prepares to go public likely next year.

  • Yes, but: Not all of Uber's seemingly natural new projects have worked out — it shuttered its e-commerce delivery service, for example.

Details: Uber has been testing the new project in Chicago, after a brief experiment in Los Angeles, according to the FT.

  • It’s pitching the service as short-term staffing and labor for other businesses, such as waiters for events.
  • The tests so far have not involved current Uber drivers, according to the report, which also notes that it could end up not being a full-fledged business.

Déjà vu: Uber is far from the first company to think of offering on-demand labor to other businesses.

  • For example, TaskRabbit offered a similar service years ago, which at one point accounted for 40% of its revenue, but eventually shifted its business customers to its main service.
  • Exec also aimed to provide on-demand help with errands and tasks to businesses, but sold that segment to rival Handy just 2 years later, reportedly for $10 million.   

Go deeper

Situational awareness

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Mike Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 NDAs
  2. Wells Fargo to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges
  3. Bloomberg campaign says Tennessee vandalism "echoes language" from Bernie supporters
  4. Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers
  5. Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.

Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 nondisclosure agreements

Mike Bloomberg. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg said Friday his company will release women identified to have signed three nondisclosure agreements so they can publicly discuss their allegations against him if they wish.

Why it matters, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Bloomberg’s shift in policy toward NDAs comes as he tries to stanch his loss of female support after the Las Vegas debate. It is an effort to separate the total number of harassment and culture complaints at the large company from those directed at him personally. That could reframe the criticism against him, but also protect the company from legal fallout if all past NDAs were placed in jeopardy.