This week, 118 food service workers at Yahoo won union representation at its headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA. The food service workers, who are employed by Yahoo’s contractor, Bon Appetit, are calling for respect and dignity, affordable health care, and increased wages to compete with increasing rents in the Bay Area.
“I grew up and live in the east side of San Jose,” said Agustina Sanchez, a cafeteria worker at Yahoo. “It is becoming harder and more expensive to stay in San Jose, especially as a single mother. I stood up with my coworkers to fight for a union because we all deserve better standards for the hard work we do. We should be able to stay in the communities where we grew up.”
There are approximately 5,000 food service workers in Silicon Valley—many of them immigrants and people of color—along with hundreds more in various tech hubs like Seattle, Austin, and New York City. Increased housing and rental costs are a major issue affecting cafeteria workers in the Bay Area. Bon Appetit workers are calling on Yahoo to join the movement towards addressing inequality in the tech industry.
Enrique Fernandez, business manager of UNITE HERE Local 19, says “We are very happy that Yahoo cafeteria workers will be joining our union. We look forward to sitting down to negotiate a contract that will help better the lives of these workers and improve standards in the industry.”
Bon Appetit workers at Yahoo will join other subcontracted cafeteria workers who work at Facebook, Intel, Cisco Systems, Agilent and Nvidia as members of UNITE HERE Local 19. Thousands of Silicon Valley food service workers, janitors, security officers, and shuttle drivers have unionized in recent years as part of Silicon Valley Rising, a coordinated campaign of labor, faith and community groups working to inspire the tech industry to build an inclusive middle class in Silicon Valley. Since 2016, UNITE HERE has organized over a thousand tech cafeteria workers nationally.