Teamsters Take on Silicon Valley

Under the leadership of Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise, the Teamsters are on the front lines in the fight against income inequality in Silicon Valley.

I hope you saw the press yesterday as over 70 Teamsters and allies blocked two Bauer’s IT tech buses in San Francisco’s Mission District.  Bauer’s has built a company serving high tech companies such as Cisco, Yahoo, and Twitter.  And they shuttled mayors to Uber headquarters during the recent US Conference of Mayors meeting in SF.  The National Labor Relations Board alleges that Bauer’s IT broke federal labor laws when it surveilled workers and blocked them from talking to Teamster organizers.  Shortly after, a company manager allegedly created a fake union by circulating a blank piece of paper and telling drivers to sign it.  Within the week, the drivers had a new contract that they hadn’t voted on or even seen!  This was detailed in a hard-hitting Mother Jones piece.

In March, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a unanimous resolution calling on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to include a “labor harmony” provision in their Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program.  Such a policy would protect the 800,000 riders who depend on daily MUNI transportation from labor disputes like the one at Bauer’s yesterday from interfering with the regular bus service.  Yet MTA still hasn’t acted.

The Bauer’s drivers want the same wages and benefits that 87 Apple drivers for Loop Transportation won in March including average $9 hourly wage increases bringing them up to $27.50/hour, fully paid family health care, up to five weeks of paid vacation, a pension and more.  These are mostly workers of color.

Along those lines, this month over 160 Compass Transportation drivers for Apple, Yahoo, eBay, Genentech, Amtrak, and Zynga voted on a similar contract  which is now being reviewed by Compass’ the high tech clients. To date, eBay, Apple, and Genentech have signed off on the increased costs to support good union jobs for their contract employees.

Finally, this month approximately 140 Google Express workers filed for an election with Teamsters Local 853.  These warehouse workers process Google shopping orders and work for a temporary agency called Adecco.  On July 17th, Google head of “People Relations” Lazslo Bock told KQED radio that, “Folks have a legal right to organize without fear of retaliation. And that’s a critical and important thing and we respect that. I mean, there would not and will not be retaliation.”  Unfortunately, it appears Adecco has brought in the notorious anti-union firm Jackson Lewis and one leader in the union organizing effort was suspended.  With an election pending at the end of this month, please sign the petition to hold Google to it’s commitment

All of this work is anchored by an innovative community-labor-faith coalition called Silicon Valley Rising that is fighting for a tech economy that works for everyone. Together we are winning new protections for workers, tenants, and more.  Click the link and visit the web site to get involved in the campaign!