Teamsters Local 853 is not resting on its laurels after successfully organizing the drivers of Loop Transportation, who shuttle employees to and from the Facebook campus in Silicon Valley. The local now has won the right to represent drivers of Compass Transportation, who transport employees for other tech industry employers such as Apple, Ebay, Yahoo, and Genentech, as well as Stanford University. An NLRB election of the Silicon Valley Compass transportation drivers on February 27 resulted in a 104-38 win for the Teamsters.
It didn't hurt that the local was able to show that it had negotiated a collective bargaining agreement with Loop (contingent upon Facebook approval) that included higher wages, better insurance, and other improved terms and conditions of employment. Rome Aloise, a Teamsters spokesman, said the drivers in the Valley deserve to share in the money being made in the tech industry — and also need it, so that they can afford the high cost of living in the Silicon Valley area.
The Teamsters local is apparently seeking to organize other service employees in the area, including security guards and custodians. Mr. Aloise said, "These tech companies need to step up and stop demanding the lowest bid contract" and "need to all agree to pay their contractors an amount that allows the union to negotiate for decent wages and benefits. Of all of the industries in the world, the tech industry can afford to compensate those who help make them successful."
Are the Teamsters in the driver's seat? Or will lower-cost, non-union transportation operators arrive on the scene and get the contracts, making these perceived gains short-lived?