Google Express workers want to unionize

More than 140 Bay Area workers for Google’s same-day delivery service could soon unionize, the latest in a series of organized labor campaigns seeking to lift the wages and conditions of Silicon Valley’s contract workforce.

The warehouse and shipping workers for Palo Alto-based Google Express Services filed for a representation election to join the Teamsters, according to an online statement Monday from the Teamsters Local Union 853.

All of the workers are employed by Google contractor Adecco, one of the vendors that powers the Google Shopping Express service that delivers goods on the same day, or the day after, a customer buys an item on Google’s website. The Adecco workers pick, pack and pay for items at stores, but a different vendor employs the drivers who deliver the goods to homes.

The Bay Area two years ago became Google’s test site for a same-day and overnight delivery service that competed with eBay (which shuttered its same-day service on Monday) and Amazon and has since expanded as far as Boston, Manhattan and Washington, D.C.

The Teamsters statement said workers must sign short term work agreements of no more than two years and some have also experienced “constant harassment to work faster in poor conditions.” They want better pay, conditions and treatment.

Google declined comment Monday and Adecco representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

Google deflated a unionization campaign of its contract shuttle bus drivers in March when it offered to pay more to the vendor companies that employ the drivers so that the drivers could get a raise. The Teamsters described it at the time as a “not-so-veiled attempt to cool our jets.”

The bus drivers who shuttle Facebook tech workers to and from the social networking company’s Menlo Park campus voted to unionize in November, setting a trend that helped propel campaigns at Apple, Yahoo, Genentech and elsewhere. Apple also responded by funding a raise for its shuttle drivers.

The debate about how much contract and on-demand workers are sharing in the prosperity of the tech boom has also extended to cafeteria workers, janitors and office security guards. Google began hiring its own security guards last year, a move that awarded them all the company’s benefits and perks. After a union campaign last year, Apple also began hiring full-time security guards.

Above: A driver for Google Shopping Express picked up packages of merchandise from an operations manager at the Palo Alto Sport Shop & Toy World in August 2013. Google’s same-day delivery service for retail brick-and-mortar merchants has since expanded. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)

 

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