Every time we turn around workers have gained more ground in Silicon Valley! Just a few days after tech industry shuttle drivers voted to join Teamsters Local 853, news broke that Apple committed to increasing drivers’ salaries by 25 percent.
Gina Hall from the Silicon Valley Business Journal wrote:
Apple will increase hourly pay by 25 percent on average for shuttle drivers employed by contractors like Compass Transportation and Royal Coach Tours. Raises will depend on the drivers' previous salary and seniority.
Greg Gallup, chief operating officer Royal Coach Tours, told the Mercury News that the raise will make Apple drivers the highest paid in the Valley, which will, in turn, help Apple attract the best drivers.
These two victories come on the heels of another big announcement from Apple last week to hire their security officers in-house, providing a much-needed increase in pay and benefits. This move to provide a living wage to both their shuttle drivers and security officers helps to create a new standard in the Silicon Valley.
While Apple should be praised for making the right choice, we cannot forget how this came about in the first place. Campaigns led by the Teamsters Local 853, United Service Workers West, the South Bay Labor Council, and Silicon Valley Rising shined a spotlight on bad working conditions and an outrageous income gap in the region (SVR). Security officers and shuttle drivers were brave to speak up and be honest about their struggles to afford living near where they work. It’s true that Apple is off to a good start in 2015, but it’s the workers and the people who stood behind them from day one who deserve the glory.
And the struggle is also not over. Julia Love with the San Jose Mercury reports:
For Apple's shuttle bus drivers at Compass, the Teamsters will have to sign off on the wage increase before it goes into effect. Rome Aloise, international vice president and secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 853, said the union will agree to it.
Aloise said he suspects the raise was a response to the inroads the union has made recently in the valley. He said the union remains interested in organizing the rest of Apple's shuttle bus drivers, noting the contract it negotiated for Facebook's team called for full health insurance as well as paid sick and vacation time, among other benefits.
“Money is important, and I'm happy we were able to help these drivers get a raise,” he said. “But there is still a lot of work to be done.
Photo credit to Teamsters.