Facebook shuttle drivers approve union contract

Facebook shuttle bus drivers ratified a union contract Saturday in a milestone vote that may have a ripple effect across Silicon Valley.

More than two-thirds of the 87 drivers employed by bus contractor Loop Transportation voted for the contract, which was negotiated with the Teamsters. The deal would give drivers a significant pay raise — from an average of $18 an hour to $24.50 an hour — improved benefits and provide bonuses for drivers who work split shifts. Facebook still needs to sign off on the agreement before it’s finalized.

Driver Sean Hinman told USA Today he expects Facebook to accept the terms. “It’s going to benefit everybody,” he said. “It’s going to benefit Facebook … (and) Loop because they need drivers and they are going to get them.”

Facebook’s drivers voted to unionize in November. Unions are a rarity in Silicon Valley’s tech industry. But concerns over a growing wealth gap between tech workers and service contractors have led to a groundswell for change.

“I hate to spook the tech industry, getting them to think we’re running to organize everything, but these workers will see the value of representation and want their little piece of the pie,” Teamsters rep Rome Aloise told the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Seeking to build on their momentum, the Teamsters are holding a highly anticipated vote Friday in an effort to unionize drivers from Compass Transportation, which contracts shuttles for Apple, eBay, Genentech, Yahoo and Zynga.

“We’re looking to make a master contract for all of the tech companies,” Aloise told the Merc’s Julia Love earlier this month. “They should all be on the same page.”

Fallout from that vote may be more contentious: Compass officials have reportedly told drivers those tech companies are likely to cancel their contracts if a union is approved.

 

At top: Teamsters rally outside Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park in November. (Karl Mondon/Staff)

 

 

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