A potentially historic rain and wind storm is hitting the San Francisco Bay area today. But there’s another storm that’s hitting Silicon Valley: the storm of Apple vs. protesters.
Protesters numbering in the hundreds, led by union United Service Workers West and civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson, called out Apple at their Cupertino, CA headquarters. They’re insisting better payment for contract workers, who often make a fraction of what tech workers do. They shouted chants like, “We fight today in the rain for job security and justice.” They went into the building armed with a petition with 20,000 signatures, urging Apple to lead the way for better pay and treatment for service workers not just for their company, but for all tech companies in the Silicon Valley. The crowd filled the lobby carrying signs like, “Apple dodges taxes, we pay the price.” The strained relationship between contract workers and Silicon Valley tech leaders is nothing new. For years, these workers have complained about how they struggle to financially survive the rising cost of living in the Bay Area, while tech workers get spoiled by perk after perk. The crowd included occupations from security guards to fast food cooks and clerks. No Apple leader, representative or employee dared comment about this situation.
I must admit, I’m a little conflicted. On one hand, techs are there for a reason: because they’re highly skilled and educated at what they do. It takes a lot of education and hard work to even be hired as a Silicon Valley tech. And even then, chances of being hired over there are slim. So they deserve their perks. But these mega, mega tech conglomerates are worth billions, and San Francisco/Oakland/Silicon Valley area isn’t a cheap place to live. So these companies can do better by treating these contract workers. I’m not saying give them the exact same pay as tech workers, but they do deserve a major pay raise. They should give these working men and women enough to live comfortably and decently in one of the most expensive areas in the US. Where do you stand?