Facebook Drivers Vote to Join Teamsters

Drivers who shuttle Facebook employees to and from the company headquarters in Menlo Park., Calif., have voted in favor of representation by Teamsters Local 853 in San Leandro, Calif.

The 87 drivers, employees of Loop Transportation, organized to improve their working conditions, including low pay and an abusive split shift schedule.

“The only way that Loop will listen to us is with a union and a collective voice. I’m very relieved that we have that now,” said Demaurae Hooston, a driver.

Loop Transportation is one of a number of operators that Silicon Valley companies contract with to provide transportation for their employees.

“These companies need to step up and stop demanding the lowest bid contract. They need to all agree to pay their contractors an amount that allows the union to negotiate for decent wages and benefits. Of all the industries in the world, the tech industry can afford to compensate those that help make them successful,” said Rome Aloise, International Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 853. “We’re ready to get to work at Loop to help these drivers better their lives and the conditions they face at work – to get them some justice.”

The effort of Facebook drivers to organize a union has drawn attention from all over the world. Drivers are forced to work split shifts, often waiting six hours in between picking up and dropping off Facebook employees—all unpaid. The drivers often start work at 6 a.m. and end the day at 9:45 p.m.

“We can’t continue 16-hour days, having drivers sleeping in the cold in their cars while we wait five hours to be able to start our next shift. It’s inhumane,” said Cliff Doi, a driver.  “With our union, we can find solutions to these problems.”

Yesterday, a rally was held outside Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, Calif., where community, political and religious leaders and Teamsters demanded that Facebook respect the rights of its bus drivers to organize a union without interference.

“These drivers are part of the invisible work force that makes Silicon Valley run,” said Derecka Mehrens, Executive Director of Working Partnerships USA, a community group that participated in the rally. “They are members of our communities that work hard every day, but live in poverty, and the business model of tech companies like Facebook counts on that. Tech companies write the checks to subcontractors who hire these drivers and the thousands of other service workers who make these tech giants able to function. They need to set the standards, too, and say ‘no’ to poverty jobs.”

The delegation delivered a petition containing thousands of signatures, calling on Facebook to stop condoning anti-worker, anti-union behavior by Loop Transportation. Facebook refused to accept the petition when it was delivered.

To view the petition, go to: http://act.credoaction.com/sign/facebook_bus_drivers.

In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dated October 2, Aloise wrote, “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.”

The letter to Zuckerberg and a letter to the company as well as the stories of drivers can be seen at http://teamster.org/facebook-drivers-deserve-union.

Cross posted from teamsters.org.