For immediate release
July 24, 2017
MENLO PARK—This week, over 500 food service workers at Facebook won union representation at the tech giant’s campus in Menlo Park, CA. The workers, who are employed by contractor Flagship Facility Services, are calling for increased wages to compete with skyrocketing rents and more affordable health benefits.
“I grew up in East Palo Alto, but now I have to move to Tracy because I can’t afford to live here anymore, and that hurts,” said union leader Junior Sakalia, “One of my daughters got accepted into The Primary School in East Palo Alto, but now she can’t go because we have to leave. That’s why I am standing up for everyone in my community and for a Union, because I want to give hope to everybody who works for Flagship at Facebook. We deserve to be able to stay.”
There are approximately 5,000 food service workers in Silicon Valley—many of them immigrants and people of color—along with hundreds more in various tech hubs like Seattle, Austin, and New York City. Flagship cafeteria workers at Facebook are calling on the tech company to continue to be a leader in the industry in addressing inequality in the industry and the communities it impacts.
Enrique Fernandez, business manager of UNITE HERE Local 19, says “We are pleased that Facebook and Flagship have been cooperative partners in this organizing process. We look forward to sitting down to negotiate a contract that addresses some of the challenges workers are going through.”
Flagship workers will join cafeteria workers at Intel, Cisco Systems, Agilent and Nvidia, who are all currently members of UNITE HERE Local 19. Thousands of Silicon Valley food service workers, janitors, security officers, and shuttle drivers have unionized in recent years as part of Silicon Valley Rising, a coordinated campaign of labor, faith and community groups working to inspire the tech industry to build an inclusive middle class in Silicon Valley.
“The more of us that do this, it will ultimately end up making a better community for all,” said worker Samuel Rasheed II, a line cook for Flagship, “If our lifestyles and our families are doing better, then the community is doing better…Tech could be better for all.”
UNITE HERE Local 19 works to build the Tech Industry into one that provides good, sustainable jobs for all workers involved in creating and maintaining its success. It represents over 4,500 workers throughout Northern California, including cafeteria workers at Cisco, Nvidia, Agilent and Intel who have become union members and won raises, affordable health insurance, and job security.