Apple is being asked to “set a standard” for the security guards who look after the high-flying workers of Silicon Valley, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Organised labour is under the microscope at campuses across the sector. And United Service Workers West (USWW), a regional branch of the Service Employees International Union, is trying to unionize security personnel in the Bay. It has Apple in its sights and is pressuring the company to use a different contractor until the dispute is settled.
The Mercury says there is a “growing debate” about contracted service workers in Silicon Valley, who “struggle to make ends meet” — while they drive shuttle buses and cook in the cafes, it’s no secret that staff at places such as Apple enjoy countless perks.
The USWW, alongside activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, is pushing hard for better working conditions in the campaign and has apparently set its eye on Apple, as it believes it should set an example for other tech companies to follow.
Vice president of USWW, Samuel Kehinde, told the Mercury: “Apple can be the leader. They can decide how life should be for this class of workers in the valley.”
Rev. Jackson reportedly sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, questioning how the group’s security guards are treated by Security Industry Specialists (SIS), which contracts them out. He urged Cook to “take a stand,” says the Mercury, and has requested a meeting to discuss the situation.
Organised labour is gaining more control and power in Silicon Valley. This month, Facebook’s shuttle bus drivers voted to join Teamsters union; and in October, Google announced it would create in-house security staff who’ll get the same benefits as the rest of its employees.
In the past, Google contracted workers from SIS, which Kehinde argues has a poor record of treating its workforce. If Facebook and Google is anything to go by, Apple will probably follow suit — but has not yet commented on the situation.
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