Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Posts Tagged ‘janitors’

Facebook Just Made Sure Even Their Janitors Are Making At Least $15 An Hour

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Facebook issued new employee benefit guidelines that raise minimum pay to $15 and extends leave for third-party contract employees who work behind the scenes on the social network’s campuses. In a blog post Tuesday, Facebook’s chief operations executive Sheryl Sandberg wrote that contractors and vendors in U.S. will have to adhere to new standards, including a $15 minimum wage, at least 15 days paid leave for vacation, sick days and holidays, and a $4,000 new child benefit for parents who don’t get paid parental leave.

Effective May 1, the new benefits will cover contract employees who work as cooks, janitors, security guards and other support staff at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The company plans to extend the benefits to third-party vendors with more than 25 employees at its other 16 campuses in the U.S. over the next year.

Facebook will also absorb extra costs from the new program until contract companies can meet the new standards, a Facebook representative told the Wall Street Journal. The new program, which Sandberg said will primarily benefit women who make up two-thirds of the minimum wage workforce, aims to bring temporary or contract workers closer to the perks Facebook employees get, such as three weeks vacation, parental leave and new baby bonuses.

The move also follows a strong backlash from Silicon Valley’s invisible workforce. The employees tech companies lean on to provide the benefits full employees get such as free transportation, meals, security and personal grooming services, often face untenable work schedules with skimpy compensation by contracting companies. Earlier this year, shuttle bus drivers for Facebook employees unionized to fight grueling shifts and better pay. Amazon, which has frequent labor disputes, recently removed a controversial clause in its employment contract that banned seasonal and contract workers from getting jobs at companies that may only remotely compete with the online retailer.

Google hired more than 200 security guards last year instead of contracting the services out, giving them the same benefits — retirement, health insurance and paternity leave — as the company’s other employees. In a less traditional move, Apple and Facebook also expanded their health benefits, allowing female employees to freeze their eggs under the company’s insurance plans.  

This blog was originally posted on Think Progress on May 13, 2015. Reprinted with permission.

About the author: The author’s name is Lauren C. Williams. Lauren C. Williams is the tech reporter for ThinkProgress with an affinity for consumer privacy, cybersecurity, tech culture and the intersection of civil liberties and tech policy. Before joining the ThinkProgress team, she wrote about health care policy and regulation for B2B publications, and had a brief stint at The Seattle Times. Lauren is a native Washingtonian and holds a master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s of science in dietetics from the University of Delaware.

Minnesota Janitors and Security Officers Set Strike Vote, Say Corporate Elite Has Power to Unlock Better Future

Friday, January 25th, 2013

seiu-org-logoFor janitors and security officers in Minneapolis, members of SEIU Local 26, a raise would help bring them above the poverty line. It would allow them to  pay for basic necessities, including groceries, school, rent or mortgage. And they’re  prepared to fight for themselves, their fellow workers, and their families in order to achieve those things.

As the next step in their fight for a living wage and and affordable health care, members of Local 26 held  a rally in downtown Minneapolis yesterday after contract bargaining came to a standstill. At the rally a strike petition was circulated, with a strike vote is scheduled for February 9.

“It’s not fair that while our productivity is going up, our wages are not keeping pace,” said Margarita Del Angel, a janitor who spoke at the rally. “We are being forced to do more and more work for the same amount, so our employers can cut back on workers and save money at our expense. And now, they are demanding to pay us even less. They want to cut wages for more than half of us…They want to lock us into poverty, while continuing to grow richer at our expense.”

For the first time ever, more than 6,000 janitors and security officers in the Twin Cities and suburbs are negotiating new contracts simultaneously. In 2008, a new contract was negotiated for 1,000 security officers after they struck in downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis. In 2006 and 2009,  janitors voted to authorize strikes, but both were narrowly averted.

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The average worker in Local 26 earns $20,503 annually. The federal poverty line for a family of four is $23,050.

Members of SEIU Local 26 clean and protect some of the Twin Cities’ largest office buildings that house some of the wealthiest corporations in the country, including Target, US Bank, and Wells Fargo. The contracts expired December 31, but after months of negotiations, employers are still unwilling to bargain in good faith.

“We’ve tried to bargain in good faith,” said Demetruis Moore, a member of the bargaining committee who’s worked as a security officer for more than five years. “But it’s clear they have no intention of doing so. Either come to the table and bargain in good faith, or we’re done. We’ll see you in the streets.”
If Local 26 members vote on February 9 to authorize a strike, the bargaining committees would then decide when and if a strike was necessary, as well as set a date for a strike. If a strike were to happen, it would be one of the largest strikes to ever happen in downtown Minneapolis.

“While we are proposing fair raises to move workers forward, our employers are demanding cuts. This would move workers backwards,” said Moore, the member of the bargaining committee. “The corporate elite in this country have the power to help unlock a better future for all of Minnesota. It’s time they do that.”

This post was originally posted on SEIU on January 25, 2013. Reprinted with Permission.

About the Author: Mariah Quinn is a writer for SEIU.

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