Quoted: on Facebook shuttle drivers’ vote to unionize

“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, in a statement celebrating Wednesday’s unionization vote of drivers for Loop, a contractor that provides shuttle drivers for Facebook. The drivers had been complaining about their pay — $18 an hour — and working conditions such as split shifts.

As our Pat May wrote, some believe the vote could trigger a wave of organizing efforts in Silicon Valley, land of plenty but home to a pronounced income gap.

A report released over the summer pointed to the creation of a black and Latino underclass in the tech industry, where the two groups make up the bulk of service workers who are often contracted out.

“This is the new Silicon Valley model. Companies have two work forces: their professional work force and their contract work force,” said Russell Hancock, president and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, according to a USA Today article in August.

After Wednesday’s vote, Loop CEO Jeff Leonoudakis said the company “respects the election results” and will begin negotiations.

Photo: Teamsters members rally outside Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, in support of tech shuttle bus drivers who had a vote on unionization the following day. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)


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