Facebook Shuttle Bus Drivers Vote to Join Teamsters Local 853

By David Cohen 

LoopTransportationBus650Look for the union label: The drivers of Facebook’s shuttle buses elected to join the International Brotherhood of Teamsters by a 43 to 28 vote, USA Today reported.

The drivers, who work for contractor Loop Transportation, are seeking improvements to their working conditions, having repeatedly cited their demanding schedules, which require morning shifts starting at 5:30 a.m. and evening shifts that wrap up around 8:45 p.m., with a five-hour gap between the shifts, during which the drivers cannot take on additional work, with many living too far away to go home during the break and ending up sleeping in their cars.

According to USA Today, the election was held on two Loop properties and monitored by a representative of the National Labor Relations Board.

Jimmy Maerina, the driver who spearheaded the movement to join the Teamsters, told USA Today drivers from Apple and Google had reached out to him seeking to join the union, adding:

I worked so hard for this. We won by a landslide. You don’t know happy I am.

Another driver, Cliff Doi, told the San Jose Mercury News:

This is the change we’ve been waiting for, but we’ll see what happens when we start negotiating a contract. That’s when the real battle begins. We just hope the rest of the shuttle drivers around the Bay area will join us in our fight.

Loop Transportation president Jeff Leonoudakis released a statement on the vote:

Loop Transportation respects the election results and the decision of our drivers who service Facebook. 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.

Rome Aloise, international vice president and secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 853, told USA Today he hoped the election victory would encourage shuttle drivers for other Silicon Valley companies to follow suit, adding:

I hope going forward this will set a trend with other drivers in Silicon Valley and the tech industry so we can set a pattern to make the companies pay these drivers decent wages and benefits so they can live a decent life.

And Aloise told the Mercury News:

I believe this fight will now move to other companies in the valley, and we’ll set a pattern so that all these dot-com companies can make sure the people who support them as they make billions of dollars in profits will be provided in a decent fashion to be able to support their families.

USA Today said Facebook spokeswoman Genevieve Grdina declined to comment.

Readers: What did you think of the outcome of Wednesday’s vote?

Image courtesy of the Loop Transportation Facebook page.

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