News: Cafeteria workers at Facebook headquarters demand better pay

Employee Relations

Cafeteria workers at Facebook headquarters demand better pay

Around 500 cafeteria workers at Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters have voted to join a union in the hope of better wages and health benefits
Cafeteria workers at Facebook headquarters demand better pay

Faced with burgeoning costs and an inability to make ends meet in the ultra-expensive Silicon Valley, about 500 employees working in Facebook headquarters’ cafeteria have voted to join a union called Unite Here Local 19, according to a report in the Guardian.    

The workers are earning around $18 an hour, on an average currently.

While Facebook has established $15 as the minimum hourly salary for its contractors and vendors, and the cafeteria workers’ wages are well above that mark, the workers are still not able to make ends meet, because of the substantially high cost of living in the Silicon Valley.

The San Francisco Bay Area, which houses the Silicon Valley has been ranked as the most expensive city in the world for renting a house. So dire is the situation, that the Valley’s famed software engineers, who are drawing six figure salaries are also finding it hard to manage their finances with the exorbitant housing rents, caused by the tech boom and compounded by a housing shortage in the region. 

Both Facebook and Google have recently announced their plans to provide affordable housing in Silicon Valley to their employees, which could help combat this, once implemented.

But the problem for the contracted workers is not limited to their salaries, alone. A Facebook spokeswoman reportedly stated that the cafeteria workers are not allowed to access healthcare from Facebook’s medical clinics, or other facilities like gyms or ‘bring your child to work’ days. 

Neither Facebook nor Flagship Facility services (the food services contractor that operates the cafeteria) have opposed the union drive by the workers. In fact, a spokesman for Flagship Facility Services said that it “looks forward to a positive and productive relationship with the union”.

 The workers hope that through the means of the union, they can push for better living conditions, and not just an increased salary. As Victor, one of the cafeteria workers who voted for the union, remarked: “We’re not asking for millions. I just want to not be afraid if I need to go to the doctor. That’s the reason we’re uniting.”

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Topics: Employee Relations

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