The drivers of Facebook’s shuttle buses, who actually work for Loop Transportation, will vote Wednesday to decide whether to join a local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Business Insider reported.
If the drivers vote to join the Teamsters, the union will be able to negotiate on their behalf for higher wages and better working conditions, according to Business Insider.
One of the drivers, Jimmy Maerina, shared his concerns with Business Insider, saying:
- While necessary to accommodate the hours of the traditional work day, the schedule is hard on the drivers, as they start their days at a bus depot 15 minutes from Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. At 5:30 a.m., and their evening shifts do not wrap up until 8:45 p.m.
- Drivers have five hours in the middle of the day during which they are not working, but they cannot work elsewhere during those hours, and many of them live too far away to go home during that period.
- Loop Transportation does provide a rest trailer, but it has only four beds, leaving many drivers no alternative but to sleep in their cars between shifts.
Maerina told Business Insider he pays nearly $1,200 per month for a company-sponsored health plan, yet some drivers make as little as $17 per hour.
He also told Business Insider that Loop Transportation attempted to fire him after he spoke out, but Facebook convinced the company to reconsider. He said:
Facebook needs to open their eyes and decide this treatment can’t continue, because their employees’ lives are in our hands. If it’s the last thing I do before I quit my job, I want to see the bus drivers unionized.
I am sure that Facebook is aware of this (Loop Transportation representatives discouraging drivers on voting to join the union), because if you don’t know what the heck is going on in your own home, then the home might not be yours.
They’re (his passengers) awesome. The only thing that is screwing this up is Facebook.
Loop Transportation told Business Insider its drivers’ wages of $17 to $25 per hour are among the highest in the commuter-bus industry, and a spokesperson added:
In accordance with federal law, we are cooperating fully with the National Labor Relations Board in advance of the secret ballot election. This includes notifying our drivers of the election and their rights surrounding this issue.
While your employees earn extraordinary wages and are able to live and enjoy life in some of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the Bay area, these drivers can’t afford to support a family, send their children to school, or, least of all, afford to even dream of buying a house anywhere near where they work.
It is reminiscent of a time when noblemen were driven around in their coaches by their servants. Frankly, little has changed, except the noblemen are your employees and the servants are the bus drivers who carry them back and forth each day.
And Loop Transportation president Jeff Leonoudakis told the Times last month:
We believe that we take really good care of our drivers. They’re the heart of our company. Without them, we can’t provide service to our customers. We pay overtime, which most of our competitors do not pay.
In keeping with the fact that we provide this high level of wages and benefits to our drivers, I don’t think the union is necessary in this case.
The split shift is a necessity — that’s what our customers are asking for. We are trying to make the conditions as pleasant and comfortable as we can. I don’t have an answer. I don’t think anyone in the industry does.
Readers: How do you think this situation will play out?
Image courtesy of the Loop Transportation Facebook page.