SEIU United Service Workers West (USWW) held a noisy rally outside a meeting of Apple shareholders Wednesday. The union is working to organize over 2,500 security officers in Silicon Valley.
Inside the shareholders meeting at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, Labor Council Executive Officer Ben Field questioned Apple CEO Tim Cook about the deplorable conditions under which his company's security officers work. The officers are employed by Security Industry Specialists, Inc. (SIS.), which provides contract security services for Apple and other high tech giants in the Valley.
USWW organizer Samuel Kehinde:
These are hardworking men and women with families and dreams of living a sustainable life. These officers protect and put their lives on the line to secure the richest of industries in the world yet when they fight to attain health benefits they are spied on and intimidated by their supervisors.
The focus of the campaign is to target the security officers that are employed contractually within the tech industry at such tech giants as Apple and Google. There are many different security companies within the industry that SEIU USWW already has union contracts with in Oakland and San Francisco. SIS, Inc., however, is non-union across the country. The company is notorious for its intimidating tactics to prevent unionization including using surveillance on the job site to frighten their employees from simply taking a business card from union organizers.
Charles Wilson is a security officer working in Silicon Valley fighting with his fellow workers to form a union. He is a Military veteran who dedicated himself to serving his country.
Charles was fired by another non-union security contractor in Silicon Valley when he spoke out for better working conditions. Reflecting on his experience, Charles noted “a company like Apple should lead the way and stop using a bad apple contractor like SIS.”
Cook briefly addressed Field's question by saying he was not familiar with the security company Apple uses and he would “look into it.”