Nearly 5,000 Valley security guards are threatening to strike over low wages, a labour group says.
Some were marching at Google yesterday. The guards are not technically Google employees. They work for Security Industry Specialists, Google’s contractor. But they want Google to step in and pressure SIS to improve its HR practices.
Activists say SIS uses part-time workers for 80 per cent of its workforce, which means they don’t get benefits or sick days. They also accuse SIS of trying to squash workers’ attempts to form a union.
In an open letter to Google, the union officials made their case for better wages.
“The median hourly wage for a security officer in Silicon Valley is $14.89 per hour, with many being paid just $9-$12 per hour. If full-time work is available, the mean annual wage comes to $32,850—just one-third of the $95,000 per year estimated to be necessary for a Silicon Valley family of four to cover basic needs such as food, rent, child care and transportation.”
If this sounds like deja vu all over again, that’s because the Valley’s janitors went through a similar thing back in 2008. They went on strike and then negotiated a package that gave them an average of $1,250 more per year and better access to health insurance.
SIS says the union has been unfairly targeting the company. On a web page called “Union Facts,” SIS says that for three years, the union has been “harassing” SIS’s employees.
“With zero success, the union now has turned to a campaign of lies and distortion aimed at SIS employees and clients,” SIS says on the web page.
The latest protests point out one of the biggest problems in the Valley: income equality. The cost of living is high and wages are great for the tech elite. But low-wage underemployment is rampant for blue collar workers, too.
We reached out to Google for comment.
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