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Unionists Support Good Jobs for Tech Industry Security Workers

October 2014

Labor union members ramped up the campaign to support good jobs for security officers in Silicon Valley last month. As Apple debuted its latest version of the iPhone 6, service workers and unionists leafleted customers at Apple stores around the Bay Area September 19, including at the Burlingame store. Many customers were sympathetic to the calls for a living wage and better working conditions for security workers in the technology industry.

apple

San Mateo County Central Labor Council union members met at the Apple store in Burlingame September 19 to support the campaign for good jobs for security officers in Silicon Valley. Left to right, Tony Tofani, Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16; Shelley Kessler, San Mateo Labor Council; Adrienne Zanini, AFT Local 3267; Rich Hedges, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5; Melinda Dart, AFT 3267; Julie Lind, San Mateo Labor Council; Susan Charles, San Mateo Labor Council; Donna Laws, IAMAW LL 1782 and Ann Clifford, IAMAW LL 1782.

Invisible, No More

Thousands of security officers working at Silicon Valley tech firms like Apple say that while Apple says the new iPhone6, “is better in every way,” they aren’t doing any better. Many are struggling to make ends meet, and are fighting for good jobs in the tech industry. Apple contracts with a the non-union subcontractor, Security Industry Specialists (SIS), that perpetuates low-wage security jobs and has intimidated security officers who have spoken out about working conditions.

The ongoing campaign by the Service Employees International Union-United Service Workers West calls on Apple and other tech giants like Google, eBay, and Twitter to stop contracting with SIS.

SEIU-USWW organizing director Samuel Kehinde said the union is calling on Apple to be a leader in Silicon Valley and “use responsible contractors who allow workers to have a voice on the job.” In These Times reported that, “SIS is the only one that doesn’t have a single union contract anywhere in the country, according to SEIU. Union representatives estimate that it provides more than 200 subcontracted security officers for Apple in Northern California alone.” SEIU-USWW represents security workers in San Francisco and the East Bay, and is supporting the security workers’ organizing efforts in the high tech industry in Silicon Valley.

A recent report by Working Partnerships, “contrasts Silicon Valley’s highly paid tech workers—the median wage for a systems software developer in Santa Clara County, for example, is $63.62 per hour—with the subcontracted workers who serve tech companies as security officers, whose median hourly wage is $14.17,” In These Times reported. “A majority of security officers in Santa Clara aren’t even granted any paid sick days. And these workers are disproportionately Black and Latino, especially when compared to the overwhelmingly white or Asian makeup of tech’s direct workforce. This discrepancy, Working Partnerships notes, is contributing to a cycle of racialized poverty that won’t be ameliorated by quick-fix hiring initiatives.”

Working Partnerships noted that, “If tech companies are serious about building a pipeline from K-12 schools for a more diverse tech workforce, it starts with paying their parents a livable wage.”

The SEIU-USWW campaign is supported by Labor Councils across California and the California Labor Federation. For more information or to sign a petition calling on tech companies to pay their fair share, see http://techcandobetter.org.

 

 
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