Contract drivers for Apple and other tech companies vote to unionize in quest for better conditions

Contract workers driving shuttle buses for Apple, eBay, Yahoo and other Silicon Valley companies have voted to unionize, reports USA Today.

A majority of the 120 full-time and part-time drivers who transport those companies’ employees have signed authorization cards with the union, said Rome Aloise, International vice president and secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 853.

The drivers are employed by South San Francisco-based Compass Transportation, which has contracts with Apple and the other firms to transport its workers to and from work.

The vote follows a call by Jesse Jackson for Tim Cook to create “world-class working conditions” for low-paid contractors. Cook subsequently met with Jackson to discuss income and diversity issues ahead of a small protest which briefly entered the lobby of the Apple campus.

Although the hourly rates for the drivers range from $18-20, they argue that high living costs make it difficult to live close to work, and working further out does not allow them to return home between split shifts in the morning and evening–meaning they are effectively at work for far longer than their paid hours.

William Gould, a professor at Stanford Law School said: “These workers, as a practical matter, have to wait in certain areas to do their work (and) they are not compensated for that wait.”

Facebook shuttle bus drivers joined the Teamsters union in November.

Photo: wired.com