A total of 87 drivers, who ferry Facebook employees to and from the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. voted Nov. 19 to unionize by joining the Teamsters Local 853 in San Leandro, Calif.
PC World reported on Nov. 19 that the drivers complain that they are forced to work split shifts often waiting six hours in between picking up and dropping off Facebook employees—all unpaid, according to a statement by Teamsters. Drivers often start work at 6 a.m. and end the day at 9:45 p.m. ” the statement added.
“Of all the industries in the world, the tech industry can afford to compensate those that help make them successful.” Rome Aloise, secretary treasurer of Teamsters Local 853, said in the statement. “Companies need to stop demanding the lowest bid contract and pay their contractors enough so that unions can negotiate for decent wages and benefits for the drivers.”
A report by community labor organization Working Partnerships USA said that tech companies in Silicon Valley use underpaid black, Latino and immigrant workers, hired through contractors, as landscaping workers, janitors, cooks and security guards.
PC World reported that Derecka Mehrens, executive director at Working Partnerships, said on Nov. 19 that the drivers are part of the invisible workforce that makes Silicon Valley run. “They are members of our communities that work hard every day, but live in poverty, and the business model of tech companies like Facebook counts on that,” she said. ”
In October, Aloise had written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to get him to ask Loop to recognize the drivers’ union. A rally on Nov. 18 outside Facebook’s Menlo Park campus repeated the demand.
PC World reported that Facebook could not be immediately reached for comment on the drivers’ decision to unionize.