Citing the high price of real estate in the area surrounding Facebook’s Northern California offices, the drivers, who make around $US18 to $US20 an hour, tell the New York Times that they have to live so far away from their destinations that it is impractical for them to return home in the six hours between the morning and night driving shifts.
As a result, the drivers say they are away from home 16 hours a day, but they’re only getting paid for about nine and a half of them.
“When I leave home in the morning, my kids are sleeping, and when I get home at 9, they’re done with their homework,” driver Jimmy Maerina tells The Times.
Though Facebook’s 40 shuttle bus drivers are officially employed by a subcontracting firm called Loop Transportation, union official Rome Aloise wrote a colourful letter to Zuckerberg asking him to take matters into his own hands and allow the drivers to join The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a labour union representing 1.4 million workers in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
Aloise writes that the letter was written on behalf of “a majority” of the drivers who take Facebook employees to work at the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters.
“While your employees earn extraordinary wages and are able to live and enjoy life in some of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the Bay Area, these drivers can’t afford to support a family, send their children to school, or, least of all, afford to even dream of buying a house anywhere near where they work,” Aloise writes.
He continues: “This is reminiscent of a time when noblemen were driven around in their coaches by their servants. Frankly, little has changed; except the noblemen are your employees, and the servants are the bus drivers who carry them back and forth each day.”
Aloise tells The Times that he also hopes to unionize drivers of other tech companies like Google, which itself recently came under fire from drivers claiming the split shifts have made their lives difficult.