Facebook Bus Drivers to Unionize with Teamsters as Unions Pressure Tech Companies

Facebook Inc. headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Contract shuttle-bus drivers who serve Facebook Inc.’s employees voted 43-28 Wednesday to join the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, marking a victory in Silicon Valley for one of America’s largest labor unions.

Of the 87 shuttle-bus drivers who work for Loop Transportation, 43 voted in favor of representation by Teamsters Local 853, the San Leandro-based offices of the international labor organization. The union’s organizing efforts come as a tech boom generates profits for shareholders, high salaries for local technology workers and elevates the cost of living in Silicon Valley.

The new arrangement, the latest step in an ongoing push by labor unions to engage with tech companies, could point to a model for organized labor among contractors of local tech firms, such as Apple Inc. and Google Inc.

“These companies need to step up and stop demanding the lowest bid contract,” said Rome Aloise, a vice president with the Teamsters union and the secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 853, in a statement released Wednesday. “They need to all agree to pay their contractors an amount that allows the union to negotiate for decent wages and benefits. Of all the industries in the world, the tech industry can afford to compensate those that help make them successful.”

In October, Aloise said in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that even though some of the drivers employed by the social network’s contractor work as many as 15 hours per day, they can’t afford to live in the area, one of the country’s most expensive.

Though Loop Transportation may object to the election’s result with the National Labor Relations Board during the seven-day cool-down period now in effect, the company recognized the outcome Wednesday in favor of collective bargaining.

“Loop Transportation respects the election results and the decision of our drivers who service Facebook,” said Jeff Leonoudakis, the CEO of Loop Transportation, in an emailed statement. “Even though we don’t feel that our drivers’ interests are best served by union representation, our drivers have spoken and we will now begin the negotiation process.”

Leonoudakis said that the $17-$25 take-home hourly wage for drivers of Loop Transportation’s full-size motor coaches is among the best in the bus industry.

At the $25 per hour rate, a driver would gross $52,000 a year if he or she took no vacations and had no sick days. Silicon Valley’s median income is now $94,572, 43 percent higher than the typical U.S. household.

Ben Field, the executive officer of the South Bay Labor Council, told the Silicon Valley Business Journal earlier this year that unions plan to campaign to improve the wages and benefits of security officers and other contractors who work on the local campuses of multinational technology corporations, such as Apple Inc. and Google Inc.

Call to Hire Local Workers, Pay Fair Wages


By Mark Gomez
San Jose Mercury News

SAN JOSE — Members of Santa Clara County’s plumbers and steamfitters union protested Monday morning in downtown San Jose, calling for developers in Silicon Valley to hire local workers at a fair wage.

About 100 members of Local Union 393, which includes workers from Santa Clara and San Benito counties, protested at Market and Santa Clara Streets in front of a new high-rise condominium construction project. Union workers say jobs for plumbers and steamfitters were given to a company in the Sacramento area which offers “significantly less pay” than workers in the San Jose area.

“We feel local people should be given an opportunity to work in their community,” Bill Guthrie, business manager of local union 393. “This developer and general contractor have chosen contractors that choose largely to displace local people for people coming from the valley and Sacramento at significantly less wages.

“That’s not right. We’re the soccer moms and soccer dads of the community. We pay taxes here. We support local businesses here. We should be afforded an opportunity to work on these jobs.”

A message left with the developer, Esses Property Trust, Inc., was not immediately returned. Guthrie said workers are coming from as far as Lodi for $23 per hour. “There’s local people here that should be given the opportunity to be able to work on the job, whether it be returning veterans or regular residents of the community,” Guthrie said.

Election Results

November 4, 2014 General Election
The following Labor-Endorsed candidates have been elected to their respective offices


Jerry Brown
Sole Endorsement

Lt. Governor

Gavin Newsom
Sole Endorsement

Attorney General

Kamala Harris
Sole Endorsement


Betty Yee
Sole Endorsement


John Chiang
Sole Endorsement

Superintendent of
Public Instruction

Tom Torlakson
Sole Endorsement

Insurance Commissioner

Dave Jones
Sole Endorsement

Secretary of State

Alex Padilla
Sole Endorsement

Board of Equalization

District 2
Fiona Ma

U.S. House of Representatives

District 17

Mike Honda
Sole Endorsement

District 18

Anna Eshoo
Sole Endorsement

District 19

Zoe Lofgren
Sole Endorsement

District 20

Sam Farr
Sole Endorsement

CA Senate District 10

Bob Wieckowski
Sole Endorsement

CA District 12

Anthony Cannella
Sole Endorsement

CA Assembly
District 24

Rich Gordon
Sole Endorsement

District 25

Kansen Chu
Sole Endorsement

District 27

Nora Campos
Sole Endorsement

District 28

Evan Low
Sole Endorsement

District 29

Mark Stone
Sole Endorsement

District 30

Luis Alejo
Sole Endorsement

San Jose Mayor
*results still outstanding

Dave Cortese
Sole Endorsement

San Jose City Council District 3

Raul Peralez
Sole Endorsement

San Jose City Council District 7

Tam Nguyen
Dual Endorsement

Campbell City Council

Paul Resnikoff
Sole Endorsement

Cupertino City Council

Darcy Paul
Sole Endorsement

Gilroy City Council

Peter Leroe-Munoz
Sole Endorsement

Milpitas City Council

Marsha Grilli
Sole Endorsement

Morgan Hill City Council

Richard Constantine
Sole Endorsement

Santa Clara Mayor

Jamie Matthews
Sole Endorsement

Santa Clara City Council

Dominic Caserta
Sole Endorsement
Patrick Kolstad
Open Endorsement

Saratoga City Council

Rishi Kumar
Sole Endorsement

Santa Clara Co. Board of Education

Trustee Area 2

Michael Chang
Sole Endorsement

Trustee Area 6

Darcie Green
Sole Endorsement

Trustee Area 7

Claudia Rossi
Soel Endorsement

Alum Rock School District

Esau Herrera
Sole Endorsement
Andres Quintero
Sole Endorsement

Berryessa Union
School District

David Cohen
Sole Endorsement
Hugo Jimenez
Sole Endorsement

Cambrian School District

Jared Middleton
Sole Endorsement

Campbell Union High School District

Wendy Plew
Sole Endorsement

Cupertino Union School District

Anjali Kauser
Sole Endorsement

East Side Union High School District

Frank Biehl
Sole Endorsement
J. Manuel Herrera
Sole Endorsement
Van Le
Open Endorsement

Evergreen School District

Sylvia Alvarez
Sole Endorsement

Milpitas Unified School District

Bob Nunez
Sole Endorsement

Morgan Hill Unified School District

Donna Foster Ruebusch
Sole Endorsement
Ron Wolf
Sole Endorsement
David Gerard
Sole Endorsement

San Jose Unified School District, Seat 4

Paymon Zarghami
Open Endorsement

Santa Clara Unified School District

Jodi Muirhead
Sole Endorsement
Noelani Sallings
Sole Endorsement

Gavilan Community College District Trustee Area 3

Lois Locci
Sole Endorsement

San Jose/Evergreen Community College District Seat 6

Jeff Lease
Sole Endorsement

West Valley-Mission Community College District Trustee Area 3

Anne Kepner
Sole Endorsement

Trustee Area 5

Jack Lucas
Sole Endorsement

Santa Clara Valley Water District
Seat 1

Dennis Kennedy
Sole Endorsement

Seat 7

Gary Kremen
Sole Endorsement


Measure H, SCUSD

Measure I, ESUHSD

Measure P, Oak Grove School District

Measure Q, Open Space Protection

Click HERE to see other statewide measures and races.

Dave Cortese Has Double Digit Lead for San Jose Mayor

San Jose Mayoral candidates Dave Cortese (left) and Sam Liccardo

San Jose Mayoral candidates Dave Cortese (left) and Sam Liccardo

newly released poll shows Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese widening the gap with opponent Sam Liccardo in the race for San Jose’s next mayor.  According to EMC Market and Opinion Research Services, Cortese has the support of 45% of the City’s likely voters, just two weeks away from the  November 4th election.  

The survey, which was conducted in English, Spanish and Vietnamese and included voters who have cast ballots in all of the last 5 elections, shows City Council member Sam Liccardo with 33%, and the number of undecided voters dropping to 22%.  

The South Bay Labor Council has endorsed Dave Cortese for Mayor.

Sunnyvale Joins MV in Boosting Minimum Wage


By Daniel DeBolt / Mountain View Voice

Last week Mountain View City Council members said they hoped Sunnyvale and other nearby cities would join them in raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018, and now Sunnyvale appears to be doing its part.

On Tuesday evening the Sunnyvale City Council voted to approve a $10.30 minimum wage that will go into effect on Jan. 1, six month’s before the same wage takes effect in Mountain View, and joined Mountain View’s council in setting a goal of raising it to $15 by 2018.

Advocates of raising the wage in Mountain View attended the Sunnyvale meeting to encourage the council to follow Mountain View’s lead and were enthusiastic about the outcome.

“Several members of the council emphasized the importance of consistency among cities in the region for minimum wage,” said Sunnyvale communications officer Jennifer Garnett in an email, adding that the vote was 6-1 for both the boost to $10.30 next year and to set a goal of $15 by 2018, with council member Dave Whittum opposed.

The state’s minimum wage is $9 an hour and will go to $10 in 2016.

Related story: Mountain View OKs $10.30 minimum wage.