The union drive was part of a growing campaign in Silicon Valley to secure better pay and working conditions for service workers.
In a 43-28 vote on Wednesday, the Facebook shuttle bus drivers joined the Teamsters union. This union drive was initiated as part of a campaign which seems to have gained a lot of recognition lately and aims to secure better pay and working conditions for service workers. This win through votes could actually play a meaningful role and help in encouraging shuttle drivers of other major tech companies to start organizing their drives.
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The importance of the union drive was highlighted by Rome Aloise, International Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 853 who said "I hope going forward this will set a trend with other drivers in Silicon Valley and the tech industry so we can set a pattern to make the companies pay these drivers decent wages and benefits so they can live a decent life.”
We have so far received no comments from Facebook spokeswoman Genevieve Grdina. However Loop Transportation, the contractor which employs the Facebook drivers, has issued a statement in which the CEO Jeff Leonoudakis says "Loop Transportation respects the election results and the decision of our drivers who service Facebook. Even though we don't feel that our drivers' interests are best served by union representation, our drivers have spoken and we will now begin the negotiation process.”
Even the elections were held on two of Loop Transportation's properties and the event was monitored by a National Labor Relations Board representative.
Outsourcing has become a usual way for major tech companies to get their smaller tasks done and they often employ the services of others for instance janitors and security guards. It is important that their rights be taken care of because they already struggle with a living in the Silicon Valley which happens to be one of the most highly expensive areas in the nation. This has unfortunately created a growing underclass of service workers in Silicon Valley.
The shuttle bus drivers who work for Facebook have been hired from Loop Transportation and they claim that they earn between $18 and $20 for ferrying technology workers who earn six-figure salaries to and from work. However, Loop Transportation seems to be happy with whatever wage rate they are offering; they pride in their rates which range from $17 to $25. The CEO says that his company is also paying full medical benefits and also takes care of vacations and sick days and offers drivers annual hourly pay increases and performance-based bonuses.