More than 150 Warehouse and Shipping Employees Gain Strong Voice on the Job
Warehouse and shipping workers at Google Express Services voted today by a strong majority in favor of representation by Teamsters Local 853 in San Leandro, Calif.
The 151 workers at Google Express in Palo Alto, employed through contractor Adecco, sought out the Teamsters for help with improving working conditions and treatment on the job.
Google Express workers are among the latest group of tech industry workers to join Teamsters Local 853, following successful organizing efforts at Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, eBay, Zynga, Genentech, Amtrak and Evernote.
“This is a bright ray of hope for us that our lives at work will get better,” said Gabriel Cardenas, a shift coordinator at Google Express. “We’ve seen what the union has done for other workers in tech and we are so happy to have our union now, too.”
Workers at Google Express have expressed concerns with lack of ventilation in their workplace, low wages and poor benefits. Workers are required to sign short-term employment agreements with Adecco that limit them to two years before the company lets them go. Workers have also alleged subjection to constant harassment to work faster in poor conditions that include damaged equipment, cracked floors and failing electrical system that have resulted in fires.
“It’s surprising that workers who warehouse and ship for Google Express would be subjected to such Third World conditions,” said Rome Aloise, International Vice President and principal officer of Local 853. “Workers are uniting with the Teamsters to raise standards in this industry, and we’re looking forward to negotiating a contract that will bring Google Express workers up to where they should be.”
During the campaign to organize, workers experienced resistance from Adecco management to their organizing efforts.
In a July 17 interview on KQED, the Bay Area’s public radio station, top Google Express human resources executive Laszlo Bock stressed the importance of the company and its contractors recognizing and respecting its workers’ right to organize. When asked by a caller what Google’s stance would be on its contractors’ interaction with employees that seek union representation, Bock made clear that the company expects no interference.
“Folks have a legal right to organize without fear of retaliation,” Bock said in the interview. “And that’s a critical and important thing and we respect that. I mean, there would not and will not be retaliation.”
The next step for Teamsters-represented Google Express workers is to negotiate a contract to improve their working conditions, as tech industry workers throughout Silicon Valley have done in recent months.
Facebook shuttle drivers, employed through Loop Transportation, became members of Local 853 in November. In February, they ratified their first, industry-leading agreement, which raised average pay to $27.50 an hour, including split differential, up from $18 an hour.
Shuttle drivers for Apple, eBay, Yahoo, Zynga, Genentech, Amtrak and Evernote, employed through Compass Transportation, voted overwhelmingly in February to join Local 853. On Aug. 1, the workers unanimously approved a union proposal for a first contract that encompasses the economic package from the Facebook agreement—including hourly pay increases over the three-year contract; shift differential pay; a six-hour minimum for drivers who do not work split shifts; and employer contributions to a defined pension plan, among other gains.
The Teamsters Union is part of a growing movement of labor, faith and community-based organizations and workers challenging income inequality in Silicon Valley through an innovative partnership called Silicon Valley Rising. To learn more go to, http://siliconvalleyrising.org/.
For more information on tech worker organizing with the Teamsters, visit: http://teamster.org/tech-drivers-deserve-union.
Cross post from Teamsters. Visit www.teamster.org for more information and follow them on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.